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Microbially Induced Magnesium Carbonate Precipitation and its Potential Application in Combating Desertification

Zhang, Menglong and Zhao, Liang and Li, Gen K. and Zhu, Chen and Dong, Sijia and Li, Zibo and Tang, Chaosheng and Ji, Junfeng and Chen, Jun (2021) Microbially Induced Magnesium Carbonate Precipitation and its Potential Application in Combating Desertification. Geomicrobiology Journal . ISSN 0149-0451. doi:10.1080/01490451.2021.1900461. (In Press)

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This study investigated the reaction processes of microbially induced magnesium carbonate precipitation (MIMP) with Sporosarcina pasteurii (ATCC 11859) and evaluated its feasibility for controlling desertification in the desert areas in Northwest China. We explored systematically bacterial growth curves, mineralogy of precipitates, and relative chemical conversion efficiencies of the reaction using magnesium carbonate and bacterial urea hydrolysis with Sporosarcina pasteurii. We also compared the results of MIMP with the previously, well-studied microbially induced calcium carbonate precipitation (MICP). Our results indicate that excess Mg²⁺ motivated bacterial growth slightly. Magnesium carbonate precipitates appeared as nesquehonite, Mg-amorphous calcium carbonate, and Mg-rich calcite. The relative chemical conversion efficiency was higher in Mg medium than in Ca medium. We next evaluated the potential of using MIMP to mitigate desertification. We validated our results using the Mg-rich solution obtained by dissolving abandoned Mg salts that formed from the potassium salt plants nearby salt lakes. MIMP could potentially overcome shortcomings of traditional sand fixing methods, and was particularly suitable for controlling desertification in desert areas in Northwest China where there are abundant Mg resources. If MIMP works at field scales, this approach would further benefit ecosystem reconstruction because MIMP has main products of organic nutrients and ammonia, which would facilitate the development of biomass and soils. Overall, this work provides new insights into MIMP and its geoengineering potential in controlling desertification.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription
Zhang, Menglong0000-0001-6345-9781
Li, Gen K.0000-0002-6300-3570
Dong, Sijia0000-0002-5811-9333
Li, Zibo0000-0002-1234-2230
Additional Information:© 2021 Taylor & Francis. Received 06 Mar 2020, Accepted 02 Mar 2021, Published online: 22 Mar 2021. We acknowledge the assistance from Professor Xiancai Lu for providing the lab space for bacterial inoculation and culture. Inoculation and culture of bacteria were carried out with the assistance of M.S. Chao Lv. We thank Zunli Lu in Department of Earth Sciences, Syracuse University for improvement on the original manuscript. No potential conflict of interest was reported by the author(s). This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China under [Grant No. 41772037 and No. 41273075].
Funding AgencyGrant Number
National Natural Science Foundation of China41772037
National Natural Science Foundation of China41273075
Subject Keywords:Desertification control; magnesium carbonate; MICPS; porosarcina pasteurii
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20210401-080618288
Persistent URL:
Official Citation:Menglong Zhang, Liang Zhao, Gen K. Li, Chen Zhu, Sijia Dong, Zibo Li, Chaosheng Tang, Junfeng Ji & Jun Chen (2021) Microbially Induced Magnesium Carbonate Precipitation and its Potential Application in Combating Desertification, Geomicrobiology Journal, DOI: 10.1080/01490451.2021.1900461
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:108597
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:09 Apr 2021 00:03
Last Modified:09 Apr 2021 00:03

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