Microbial carbonate precipitation as a soil improvement technique

Victoria S. Whiffin, Leon A. van Paassen, Marien P. Harkes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1213 Scopus citations


In order to evaluate MCP as a soil strengthening process, a five meter sand column was treated with bacteria and reagents under conditions that were realistic for field applications. The injection and reaction parameters were monitored during the process and both bacteria and process reagents could be injected over the full column length at low pressures (hydraulic gradient < 1; a flow rate of approximately 7 m/ day) without resulting in clogging of the material. After treatment, the column was subjected to mechanical testing, which indicated a significant improvement of strength and stiffness over several meters. Calcium carbonate was precipitated over the entire five meter treatment length. Improvement of the load bearing capacity of the soil without making the soil impermeable to fluids was shown with microbial carbonate precipitation, and this is a unique property compared to alternative soil treatment methods that are currently available for use in the subsurface.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)417-423
Number of pages7
JournalGeomicrobiology Journal
Issue number5
StatePublished - Jul 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Microbial carbonate precipitation
  • Soil improvement
  • Strengthening
  • Urease

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)


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