Encouraging microbial activity in cementitious systems: An emerging frontier in contaminated soil treatment

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

5 Citations (Scopus)


Bioremediation is widely accepted as the most effective remediation technology for organic contamination. Nevertheless, it is ineffective for heavy metals, which cannot be degraded, and their immobilisation through pH control achieved with high-pH cementitious materials is one of very few feasible means of treatment available. However, progress is being made in encouraging microbial activity in cementitious systems, which could provide a single technology that is effective and can be used for simultaneous treatment of organic and metallic contaminants in contaminated soils. This work considers efforts in this direction; the successes achieved and the challenges encountered are described. The utility of relatively low-pH magnesium phosphate cement(s) and compost in providing a favourable environment for microbes, as well as the capacity of microbes like Saccharomyces cerevisiae and Rhodococcus ruber immobilised in the cement in degrading organics is highlighted. Overall, the findings are promising and are likely to expand the frontiers of bioremediation and stabilisation/solidification technologies for sustainable treatment of contaminated soils and may be extended to other applicable hazardous waste streams.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)501-507
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Chemical Technology and Biotechnology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2013



  • Bioremediation
  • Contaminated soil
  • Magnesium phosphate cements
  • Mini-review
  • Stabilisation/solidification

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Chemical Engineering(all)
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Fuel Technology
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Inorganic Chemistry

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