BacillaFilla: Fixing Cracks in Concrete

Engineered Bacteria Can Fill Cracks In Aging Concrete | Popular Science

Researchers at the University of Newcastle in the UK have created a new kind of concrete glue that can patch up the cracks in concrete structures, restoring buildings that have been damaged by seismic events or deteriorated over time. But the glue isn’t an adhesive or some kind of synthetic material; the researchers have custom-designed a bacteria to burrow deep into the cracks in concrete where they produce a mix of calcium carbonate and a special bacteria glue that hardens to the same strength of the surrounding concreate.

Press Releases - - Newcastle University

Cracks in your concrete? You need ‘BacillaFilla’

The BacillaFilla spores only start germinating when they make contact with concrete – triggered by the very specific pH of the material – and they have an in-built self-destruct gene which means they would be unable to survive in the environment.

Once the cells have germinated, they swarm down the fine cracks in the concrete and are able to sense when they reach the bottom because of the clumping of the bacteria.

This clumping activates concrete repair, with the cells differentiating into three types: cells which produce calcium carbonate crystals, cells which become filamentous acting as reinforcing fibres and cells which produce a Levans glue which acts as a binding agent and fills the gap.

Team:Newcastle/solution - 2010.igem.org

[,,,] BacillaFilla repairs concrete by 3 different processes:
  1. Some of the cells with produce calcium carbonate crystals,
  2. Some of the cells will become filamentous thereby acting as reinforcing fibres in the crack and
  3. All the cells will produce Levans glue which acts as a binding agent and at the same time it fills up the whole crack.
Therefore the mixture of all the three elements together will make a strong repair.