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Wondelgem, Belgium

Ersan Y.C.,Ghent University | Verbruggen H.,Vrije Universiteit Brussel | De Graeve I.,Vrije Universiteit Brussel | Verstraete W.,Ghent University | And 3 more authors.
Cement and Concrete Research | Year: 2016

Microbial healing of concrete cracks is a relatively slow process, and meanwhile the steel rebar is exposed to corrosive substances. Nitrate reducing bacteria can inhibit corrosion and provide crack healing, by simultaneously producing NO2 - and inducing CaCO3 precipitation. In this study, the functionality of one non-axenic and two axenic NO3 - reducing cultures for the development of corrosion resistant self-healing concrete was investigated. Both axenic cultures survived in mortar when incorporated in protective carriers and became active 3 days after the pH dropped below 10. The non-axenic culture named "activated compact denitrifying core" (ACDC) revealed comparable resuscitation performance without any additional protection. Moreover, ACDC induced passivation of the steel in corrosive electrolyte solution (0.05 M NaCl) by producing 57 mM NO2 - in 1 week. The axenic cultures produced NO2 - up to 26.8 mM, and passivation breakdown and pitting corrosion were observed. Overall, ACDC appears suitable for corrosion resistant microbial self-healing concrete. © 2016 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Matassa S.,Ghent University | Matassa S.,Avecom NV | Batstone D.J.,University of Queensland | Batstone D.J.,Cooperative Research Center for Water Sensitive Cities | And 6 more authors.
Environmental Science and Technology | Year: 2015

The increase in the world population, vulnerability of conventional crop production to climate change, and population shifts to megacities justify a re-examination of current methods of converting reactive nitrogen to dinitrogen gas in sewage and waste treatment plants. Indeed, by upgrading treatment plants to factories in which the incoming materials are first deconstructed to units such as ammonia, carbon dioxide and clean minerals, one can implement a highly intensive and efficient microbial resynthesis process in which the used nitrogen is harvested as microbial protein (at efficiencies close to 100%). This can be used for animal feed and food purposes. The technology for recovery of reactive nitrogen as microbial protein is available but a change of mindset needs to be achieved to make such recovery acceptable.

Matassa S.,Ghent University | Matassa S.,Avecom NV | Boon N.,Ghent University | Verstraete W.,Ghent University | Verstraete W.,Avecom NV
Water Research | Year: 2015

Resources in used water are at present mainly destroyed rather than reused. Recovered nutrients can serve as raw material for the sustainable production of high value bio-products. The concept of using hydrogen and oxygen, produced by green or off-peak energy by electrolysis, as well as the unique capability of autotrophic hydrogen oxidizing bacteria to upgrade nitrogen and minerals into valuable microbial biomass, is proposed. Both axenic and mixed microbial cultures can thus be of value to implement re-synthesis of recovered nutrients in biomolecules. This process can become a major line in the sustainable "water factory" of the future. © 2014 Elsevier Ltd.

Da Silva F.B.,Ghent University | Da Silva F.B.,Avecom NV | De Belie N.,Ghent University | Boon N.,Avecom NV | And 2 more authors.
Construction and Building Materials | Year: 2015

The bio-based self-healing concrete market demands an inexpensive bio-agent. The use of axenic ureolytic spore cultures has been demonstrated to be efficient but too expensive, due to an operational expense (OPEX) cost of about 500 €/kg of bio-agent. A new selection process to obtain a powderous material containing an efficient ureolytic microbial community (Cyclic EnRiched Ureolytic Powder or CERUP) has been developed. Ureolytic activity, calcium carbonate precipitation capability and the effects in concrete were evaluated at production scales of 5 L and 50 L. The non-axenic culture obtained following this new selective process, at both 5 L and 50 L scales, proved to be as good as the benchmark Bacillus sphaericus both in urea hydrolysis (20 g urea/L in 24 h) and calcium carbonate precipitation (0.3 g CaCO3/g VS.h). Plain incorporation of CERUP in concrete was found to be efficient at levels of 0.5% and 1% of the cement weight. Furthermore, a brief economical evaluation was performed to verify the economic feasibility of this product. Only OPEX costs were considered since capital expense (CAPEX) costs are directly related to the dimensions of scale and thus not possible to estimate at this stage of the research. The OPEX cost per unit of CERUP is about 40 times lower than the OPEX cost of a B. sphaericus axenic culture. However, even with such decrease in cost, the production of bacterial spores to incorporate in concrete is too expensive. © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Matassa S.,Ghent University | Matassa S.,Avecom NV | Verstraete W.,Ghent University | Verstraete W.,Avecom NV | And 2 more authors.
Water Research | Year: 2016

Domestic used water treatment systems are currently predominantly based on conventional resource inefficient treatment processes. While resource recovery is gaining momentum it lacks high value end-products which can be efficiently marketed. Microbial protein production offers a valid and promising alternative by upgrading low value recovered resources into high quality feed and also food. In the present study, we evaluated the potential of hydrogen-oxidizing bacteria to upgrade ammonium and carbon dioxide under autotrophic growth conditions. The enrichment of a generic microbial community and the implementation of different culture conditions (sequenced batch resp. continuous reactor) revealed surprising features. At low selection pressure (i.e. under sequenced batch culture at high solid retention time), a very diverse microbiome with an important presence of predatory Bdellovibrio spp. was observed. The microbial culture which evolved under high rate selection pressure (i.e. dilution rate D = 0.1 h-1) under continuous reactor conditions was dominated by Sulfuricurvum spp. and a highly stable and efficient process in terms of N and C uptake, biomass yield and volumetric productivity was attained. Under continuous culture conditions the maximum yield obtained was 0.29 g cell dry weight per gram chemical oxygen demand equivalent of hydrogen, whereas the maximum volumetric loading rate peaked 0.41 g cell dry weight per litre per hour at a protein content of 71%. Finally, the microbial protein produced was of high nutritive quality in terms of essential amino acids content and can be a suitable substitute for conventional feed sources such as fishmeal or soybean meal. © 2016 Elsevier Ltd.

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