Bio-mediation for Surface Stabilization: Feasibility, Examining Response and Method Development

Mohammad Khosravi, PhD, M. ASCE

Assistant Professor, Department of Civil Engineering, Montana State University, Bozeman, MT

April 7, 2023 | 11 a.m. | 140 Ketter Hall


Man dressed in a suit smiling. Only his torso and head are visible.

The field of biomediation, also known as ureolysis-induced calcite precipitation (UICP), is an innovative and eco-friendly approach that uses ureolytic microorganisms to precipitate calcium carbonate and improve soil strength and stability. The basic principle underlying this technology is the use of bacteria to bind soil particles and create a stronger structure. However, implementing biomediation for shallow subsurface applications faces several challenges, including cost and efficiency, which make it difficult to use on a larger scale, particularly for road applications and erosion control. In his presentation, Dr. Khosravi will discuss how his research team is addressing some of the current challenges in using biomediation for subsurface stabilization by conducting a series of experiments at different scales, ranging from small-scale (2" column) to meso-scale testing (test bed of approximate dimensions of 4 feet wide, 4 feet long, and 1 foot deep). Specifically, he will focus on topics such as cost, treatment methods, and injection techniques that could affect the spatial distribution of calcite precipitation in the soil. Dr. Khosravi will also cover monitoring techniques that are broadly applicable to different engineering surface applications. By addressing these challenges, biomediation for shallow subsurface applications could become more practical and widely adopted. 


Mohammad Khosravi is an assistant professor at Montana State University and the director of MSU's geotechnical and bio-geotechnical laboratory. He earned his B.Sc. in Civil Engineering from Sharif University of Technology in 2003 and his Ph.D. in Civil Engineering from Virginia Tech. His research interests focus on three main areas: biomediated geotechnics for sustainable infrastructure, geotechnical earthquake engineering (including liquefaction, ground improvement, seismic performance of earth dams and levees, and seismic soil-pile-structure interaction), and energy geo-systems (with an emphasis on bridge structural health and performance efficiency). Dr. Khosravi has secured funding for his scholarly activities from various state and federal agencies, including AFRL, DOD, DOT, and DFI. In addition to his research on shallow subsurface applications of UICP, he has established a program that focuses on using microbial-induced calcite precipitation for sustainable infrastructure in cold regions. His work addresses fundamental research questions related to the application of biomineralization in cold environments, including mineral synthesis at low temperatures, heat flow, and water migration in biomediated soil, and the effect of MICP on the physics of freeze-thaw dynamics. Dr. Khosravi is an active member of the civil engineering society and serves as the chair of the Natural Hazards Engineering Research Infrastructure (NHERI)’s User Forum (UF) Committee.