Applications of Microbial Processes in Geotechnical Engineering

Adv Appl Microbiol. 2018;104:39-91. doi: 10.1016/bs.aambs.2018.05.001. Epub 2018 Jun 13.


Over the last 10-15 years, a new field of "biogeotechnics" has emerged as geotechnical engineers seek to find ground improvement technologies which have the potential to be lower carbon, more ecologically friendly, and more cost-effective than existing practices. This review summarizes the developments which have occurred in this new field, outlining in particular the microbial processes which have been shown to be most promising for altering the hydraulic and mechanical responses of soils and rocks. Much of the research effort in this new field has been focused on microbially induced carbonate precipitation (MICP) via ureolysis, while a comprehensive review of MICP is presented here, the developments which have been made regarding other microbial processes, including MICP via denitrification and biogenic gas generation are also presented. Furthermore, this review outlines a new area of study: the potential deployment of fungi in geotechnical applications which has until now been unexplored.

Keywords: Biogenic gas; Denitrification; Fungi; Geotechnical engineering; Microbially induced carbonate precipitation; Ureolysis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Bacteria / growth & development*
  • Bacteria / metabolism*
  • Carbonates / metabolism*
  • Denitrification
  • Fungi / growth & development*
  • Fungi / metabolism*
  • Gases / metabolism
  • Soil Microbiology*


  • Carbonates
  • Gases