As part of an effort to lower the cost of urease enzyme used in enzyme induced carbonate precipitation (EICP) for soil improvement, urease enzyme was extracted from watermelon seeds. EICP is a biologically-based ground improvement technique in which a solution containing calcium, urea, and urease enzyme is used to induce calcium carbonate precipitation in a granular soil, enhancing strength, and stiffness. To reduce the enzyme cost by obtaining it from a waste material, the effectiveness of urease enzyme extracted from watermelon seeds, a urease-rich agricultural waste, was evaluated. Low-Tech methods were employed for extraction and purification of the enzyme. The extracted enzyme, which showed urease activity of around 611 U/ml, was used to treat Ottawa 20/30 sand. Results of scanning electron microscope imaging and energy dispersive X-ray analysis demonstrated calcium carbonate precipitation. The ratio of the precipitated carbonate content to the theoretical maximum was found to be around 64%.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)115-124
Number of pages10
JournalGeotechnical Special Publication
Issue numberGSP 296
StatePublished - 2018
Event3rd International Foundation Congress and Equipment Expo 2018: Innovations in Ground Improvement for Soils, Pavements, and Subgrades, IFCEE 2018 - Orlando, United States
Duration: Mar 5 2018Mar 10 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Architecture
  • Building and Construction
  • Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology


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