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BIO-REMEDIATED SOIL TECHNIQUES: SUSTAINABLE SOLUTIONS TO ENVIRONMENTAL PROBLEMS
Currently, the need for rapid infrastructural development is limited directly by the dearth of competent soils. This, along with the problem of soil degradation, necessitates a cost-effective and environmentally friendly method to fortify soils. Induced by ureolytic bacteria, MICP is a potential solution for solving this problem; however, the introduction of non-native microbial species could be harmful to the balance of native microbial populations, as well as soil chemistry. This project seeks to use next generation sequencing and ion chromatography to understand if the process of ureolysis disrupts the natural bacterial flora and alters natural nutrient cycling processes.
The effect of ureolysis increases the surrounding pH of the environment due to the production of ammonia and bicarbonate. The result of this alkaline environment may change the relative abundance of members in the population, for example, by favoring the growth of alkalinophiles over acidophiles. Furthermore, the impact of the buildup of ammonia on the natural flora and resulting change in the natural environment is unknown. This approach will allow the more global determination of the types of changes that are expected to occur after MICP treatment.
Potential to Further Environmental/Human Health Protection
The MICP treatment may help fortify degraded soils in areas prone to liquefaction. It is important to understand the environmental effects of this treatment as a buildup of ammonia in the soil followed by subsequent runoff into ground water/lake systems that may cause these waterways to become eutrophic across time. The results of this research will help determine if MICP is an environmentally friendly solution to soil fortification.