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Biocontainment of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) on flat concrete surfaces by microbial carbonate precipitation

Okwadha, George D.O., Li, Jin
Journal of environmental management 2011 v.92 no.10 pp. 2860-2864
Sporosarcina pasteurii, bacteria, biocontainment, calcite, carbonates, carbonation, environmental impact, equipment, leaching, permeability, polychlorinated biphenyls, temperature, urea
In this study, a biosealant obtained from microbial carbonate precipitation (MCP) was evaluated as an alternative to an epoxy-coating system. A bacterium Sporosarcina pasteurii strain ATCC 11859, which metabolizes urea and precipitates calcite in a calcium-rich environment, was used in this study to generate the biosealant on a PCB-contaminated concrete surface. Concrete cylinders measuring 3 in (76.2 mm) by 6 in (152.4 mm) were made in accordance with ASTM C33 and C192 and used for this purpose. The PCB, urea, Ca²⁺, and bacterial cell concentrations were set at 10 ppm, 666 mM, 250 mM, and about 2.1 × 10⁸ cells mL⁻¹, respectively. The results indicate that the biosealed surfaces reduced water permeability by 1–5 orders of magnitude, and had a high resistance to carbonation. Since the MCP biosealant is thermally stable under temperatures of up to 840 °C, the high temperatures that normally exist in the surrounding equipment, which may contain PCB-based fluids, have no effect on the biosealed surfaces. Consequently, there is greater potential to obtain a stronger, coherent, and durable surface by MCP. No measurable amount of PCBs was detected in the permeating water, indicating that the leaching water, if any, will have a minimum impact on the surrounding environment.