Materiales de Construcción, Vol 69, No 333 (2019)

Urban structure degradation caused by growth of plants and microbial activity

E. Mejía
Institución Universitaria Pascual Bravo – Facultad de Ingeniería– Grupo de Investigación GIIAM, Colombia

J. I. Tobón
Cement and Building Materials Research Group, Departamento de Materiales y Minerales, Facultad de Minas, Universidad Nacional de Colombia, Colombia

W. Osorio
Soil Microbiology Research Group, Escuela de Biociencias, Facultad de Ciencias, Universidad Nacional de Colombia, Colombia


The purpose of this study was to isolate microorganisms associated to surface-affected concrete structures and to measure the in vitro dissolution of concrete based on the release of elements such as calcium and silicon. Although many microorganisms were detected only a fungus was capable of significantly decreasing the culture medium pH and releasing both elements. The molecular characterization allowed to identify the microorganism as Aspergillus carbonaurius, a citric-acid producing fungus that dissolved concrete in the in vitro test. After seven days of incubation, the soluble calcium concentration in the uninoculated culture medium containing concrete was 172.3 mg/L, while in the inoculated medium it was 525.0 mg/L. The soluble silicon concentration in the uninoculated medium was 10.3 mg/L, while in the inoculated medium it was 50.1 mg/L. These findings showed that plants and microorganisms rendered a synergistic effect accelerating the biodeterioration of concrete.


Concrete; Organic acids; Weathering; Waste treatment; Durability

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