Biostimulation in desert soils for microbial-induced calcite precipitation

Hadas Raveh-Amit, Michael Tsesarsky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


Microbial-induced calcite precipitation (MICP) is a soil amelioration technique aiming to mitigate different environmental and engineering concerns, including desertification, soil erosion, and soil liquefaction, among others. The hydrolysis of urea, catalyzed by the microbial enzyme urease, is considered the most efficient microbial pathway for MICP. Biostimulated MICP relies on the enhancement of indigenous urea-hydrolyzing bacteria by providing an appropriate enrichment and precipitation medium, as opposed to bioaugmentation, which requires introducing large volumes of exogenous bacterial cultures into the treated soil along with a growth and precipitation medium. Biostimulated MICP in desert soils is challenging as the total carbon content and the bacterial abundance are considerably low. In this study, we examined the biostimulation potential in soils from the Negev Desert, Israel, for the purpose of mitigation of topsoil erosion in arid environments. Incubating soil samples in urea and enrichment media demonstrated effective urea hydrolysis leading to pH increase, which is necessary for calcite precipitation. Biostimulation rates were found to increase with concentrations of energy (carbon) source in the stimulation media, reaching its maximal levels within 3 to 6 days. Following stimulation, calcium carbonate precipitation was induced by spiking stimulated bacteria in precipitation (CaCl2 enriched) media. The results of our research demonstrate that biostimulated MICP is feasible in the low-carbon, mineral soils of the northern Negev Desert in Israel.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2905
JournalApplied Sciences (Switzerland)
Issue number8
StatePublished - 1 Apr 2020


  • Biostimulation
  • Desert soil
  • Erosion mitigation
  • Microbial-induced calcite precipitation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Materials Science
  • Instrumentation
  • General Engineering
  • Process Chemistry and Technology
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Fluid Flow and Transfer Processes


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