Biostabilization of desert sands using bacterially induced calcite precipitation

Fei Chen, Chunnuan Deng, Wenjuan Song, Daoyong Zhang, Fahad A. Al-Misned, M. Golam Mortuza, Geoffrey Michael Gadd, Xiangliang Pan (Lead / Corresponding author)

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Citations (Scopus)


Sand storms have become a growing global environmental issue and there is an urgent need to explore cost-effective green technologies to stabilize the sands of desert regions. In this study, the performance of a ureolytic Bacillus sp. for stabilization of sands was evaluated. The Bacillus sp. could efficiently consolidate sand particles by hydrolysis of urea and the subsequent production of calcite and aragonite minerals. The biostabilized sands had a high resistance to erosion by a 33 m s−1 wind speed even after 12-d exposure to freeze-thaw cycles. The compressive strength of biostabilized sands was dependent on the applied cell density and concentrations of Ca2+ and urea. High cell densities, urea and Ca2+ concentrations reduced the compressive strength. The optimal cell density, Ca2+ and urea concentrations were OD600 0.4, 15 mM and 20 g L−1, respectively, when performance and cost were considered. This study shows that biostabilization of sand based on microbially induced carbonate precipitation (MICP) has potential for the prevention of sand storms and wind erosion of soil.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)243-249
Number of pages7
JournalGeomicrobiology Journal
Issue number3-4
Early online date25 Feb 2016
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • Consolidation
  • Microbial carbonate precipitation
  • Sand storm
  • Ureolytic bacteria
  • Wind erosion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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