In-situ biomineralization: Living Building Materials (LBM)


With the approach of biomineralization, the IKTS group “Biologized Materials and Structures” addresses the development and structuring of Living (Building) Materials (LBM). They are capable of controlled and targeted uptake of carbon dioxide (CO2) and conversion into carbonate (CO32-, in combination with calcium suppliers as "lime"). The required carbon dioxide can be absorbed from the atmosphere as well as extracted from industrial processes. Microorganisms contained in the LBM (e.g., cyanobacteria) use the CO2 for carbonate mineralization (MICP = microbially induced carbonate precipitation). This is intended to develop an alternative to conventional cement/concrete production, which typically generates tons of CO2 from burning mined fossil lime.

Under the biomineralization approach, carbon dioxide is extracted from existing sources and used to produce biogenic lime. This biogenic lime then serves as binding component between fillers and aggregates to produce mineralized solids. With the aid of selected microorganisms, consolidation takes place. Depending on the ceramic-based and biogenic aggregates, such solids can be used as novel biomaterials or as sustainable building and construction materials on land, sea and even in space. The scope for these interesting materials and material combinations is wide. They address essential societal issues on greenhouse neutrality in industry, sustainable business in cycles, energy, the environment, and our health.

© Technische Universität Dresden
Bright field and fluorescence microscopy after 7 days of cultivation with Synechococcus sp. PCC 7002 in mineralization medium (red = living organisms).
© Fraunhofer IKTS
LBM construct for subsequent organism population and -mineralization.
© Fraunhofer IKTS
Further LBM construct for subsequent organism population and -mineralization

The IKTS-group "Biologized Materials and Structures" offers its expertise to its research partners and customers in joint projects. We are glad to develop new ideas with you and jointly open up new subject areas and industrial applications in both feasibility studies and specific product developments.

Further information

Reinhardt O, Ihmann S, Ahlhelm M and Gelinsky M (2023). 3D bioprinting of mineralizing cyanobacteria as novel approach for the fabrication of living building materials. Front. Bioeng. Biotechnol. 11:1145177. doi: 10.3389/fbioe.2023.1145177