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Sustainability 2016, 8(3), 251; doi:10.3390/su8030251

Introduction of Microbial Biopolymers in Soil Treatment for Future Environmentally-Friendly and Sustainable Geotechnical Engineering

1,†
,
2,†
and
2,†,*
1
Geotechnical Engineering Research Institute, Korea Institute of Civil Engineering and Building Technology (KICT), Goyang 10223, Korea
2
Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST), Daejeon 34141, Korea
These authors contributed equally to this work.
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Michael A. Fullen
Received: 24 November 2015 / Revised: 3 February 2016 / Accepted: 3 March 2016 / Published: 10 March 2016
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Abstract

Soil treatment and improvement is commonly performed in the field of geotechnical engineering. Methods and materials to achieve this such as soil stabilization and mixing with cementitious binders have been utilized in engineered soil applications since the beginning of human civilization. Demand for environment-friendly and sustainable alternatives is currently rising. Since cement, the most commonly applied and effective soil treatment material, is responsible for heavy greenhouse gas emissions, alternatives such as geosynthetics, chemical polymers, geopolymers, microbial induction, and biopolymers are being actively studied. This study provides an overall review of the recent applications of biopolymers in geotechnical engineering. Biopolymers are microbially induced polymers that are high-tensile, innocuous, and eco-friendly. Soil–biopolymer interactions and related soil strengthening mechanisms are discussed in the context of recent experimental and microscopic studies. In addition, the economic feasibility of biopolymer implementation in the field is analyzed in comparison to ordinary cement, from environmental perspectives. Findings from this study demonstrate that biopolymers have strong potential to replace cement as a soil treatment material within the context of environment-friendly construction and development. Moreover, continuing research is suggested to ensure performance in terms of practical implementation, reliability, and durability of in situ biopolymer applications for geotechnical engineering purposes. View Full-Text
Keywords: soil treatment; engineered soil; geotechnical engineering; biopolymer; environmentally-friendly; CO2 emission; soil strengthening soil treatment; engineered soil; geotechnical engineering; biopolymer; environmentally-friendly; CO2 emission; soil strengthening
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Chang, I.; Im, J.; Cho, G.-C. Introduction of Microbial Biopolymers in Soil Treatment for Future Environmentally-Friendly and Sustainable Geotechnical Engineering. Sustainability 2016, 8, 251.

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