Recent advances in engineered microbial technologies for the construction industry

APRIL 2021
        Microbial biotechnologies have received attention in the construction industry in recent times. This is partly driven by the climate change motivated transition towards the adoption of low carbon and environmentally friendly cementitious technologies in varied sectors of the construction industry. The multidisciplinary approach by researchers in the emerging area of Construction Biotechnology has led to the development of innovative low costs and low carbon microbial-based products like bio-bricks, bio concrete or self-healing concrete/bricks mediated by bacteria, fungi, and biofilms. Similar advancements are recorded in the development of microbial biocements and biogrouts, as well as the recent concepts of engineered growth of microbial living systems (e.g., using bacteria, fungal mycelia, microbial communities such as biofilms, lichens) towards applications in ground improvement, as living building materials, or as resource for production of construction materials. This paper presents a brief scoping review of the research advancements in the development of microbial-based materials/products/processes for applications in the construction industry. A description of recent breakthroughs in engineered microbial technologies which may be imminently deployed in practice are also presented. Besides providing a snapshot of the state-of-art, this paper also reveals unique insights and concepts that expose existing research gaps and propose areas of future research directions in engineered microbial biotechnologies for the construction industry.

Emmanuel Salifu, Fiona Gutteridge, Kimia Witte

Young Researchers’ Forum V
Innovation in Construction Materials