To combat marine corrosion in concrete, a team led by Prof. Li Xiangdong, Dean of the Faculty of Construction and Environment, Director of the Research Institute for Sustainable Urban Development, Chair Professor of Environmental Science and Technology, and Ko Jan Ming Professor in Sustainable Urban Development has developed a biomineralisation approach to protecting marine concrete from microbially induced corrosion, a prevalent issue in marine environments that leads to structural damage such as cracking in concrete infrastructure. This valuable innovation aims to help achieve sustainable coastal structures. The team’s research was published in Environmental Science & Technology.


The method adopted by the research team is to form a biomineralised film on concrete surfaces as a protective layer, controlling sulfate diffusion and isolating the concrete from corrosive sulfate-reducing bacteria communities. This protective mechanism significantly extends the lifespan of concrete structures. Moreover, the technique has no negative impact on the native marine microbial communities.


According to Prof. Li, the biomineralisation technique serves as an environmentally friendly coating method for controlling concrete corrosion, with minimal impact on the overall biofilm communities. It also utilises carbon dioxide to produce mineral precipitates, enhancing the durability of concrete structures. This process not only reduces the carbon footprint and energy consumption of marine infrastructure throughout its lifespan, but also contributes to carbon neutrality and sustainability.


The team’s biomineralisation strategy has great potential for application in various corrosive environments, such as marine and sewage environments, and water cooling utilities, where concrete corrosion is induced by corrosive microorganisms.