Bacterial Treatment of Recycled Concrete Aggregate


Microbial treatment of recycled concrete aggregate (RCA) may improve the quality of the aggregate, and enhance its use in the production of structural concrete and promote the recycling of concrete waste. The mortar phase of the RCA is responsible for the poor performance of the aggregate. Treating the old adhered mortar or removing it from the natural aggregate (NA) is an option to make RCA beneficial for the production of quality recycled aggregate concrete (RAC). Removing the adhered mortar from recycled concrete aggregate using silicate-solubilizing bacteria was investigated. The bacteria could synthesize the silicates in the calcium silicate hydrate phase of the cement paste leading to the breakdown of the old adhered mortar. Four SSB strains were tested for survivability and activity in an alkaline medium to simulate the concrete environment. The Serratia marcescens bacterial strain, which survived the environment, was inoculated into screw-cap glass vials containing recycled concrete aggregate fragments and glucose-enhanced nutrient broth and then incubated for 14 days. Partial removal of the old adhered mortar was observed based on the weight lost from the RCA. The S. marcescens bacterial strain could survive the alkaline concrete environment and solubilize the silicates present in cement paste resulting in the removal of the old adhered mortar.


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old adhered mortar, recycled aggregate concrete, recycled concrete aggregate, Serratia marcescens, silicate-solubilizing bacteria


Rowell, A., Ghebrab, T., & Jeter, R.. 2023. Bacterial Treatment of Recycled Concrete Aggregate. Recycling, 8(5).