Bacteria-Induced Mineral Precipitation: a Mechanistic Review

Timothy Hoffmann, Bianca Reeksting, Susanne Gebhard

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

53 Citations (SciVal)


Micro-organisms contribute to Earth’s mineral deposits through a process known as bacteria-induced mineral precipitation (BIMP). It is a complex phenomenon that can occur as a result of a variety of physiological activities that influence the super saturation state and nucleation catalysis of mineral precipitation in the environment. There is a good understanding of BIMP induced by bacterial metabolism through the control of metal redox states and enzyme-mediated reactions such as ureolysis. However, other forms of BIMP often cannot be attributed to a single pathway but rather appear to be a passive result of bacterial activity, where minerals form as a result of metabolic by-products and surface interactions within the surrounding environment. BIMP from such processes has formed the basis of many new innovative biotechnologies, such as soil consolidation, heavy metal remediation, restoration of historic buildings and even self-healing concrete. However, these applications to date have primarily incorporated BIMP-capable bacteria sampled from the environment, while detailed investigations of the underpinning mechanisms have been lagging behind. This review covers our current mechanistic understanding of bacterial activities that indirectly influence BIMP and highlights the complexity and connectivity between the different cellular and metabolic processes involved. Ultimately, detailed insights will facilitate the rational design of application-specific BIMP technologies and deepen our understanding of how bacteria are shaping our world.

Original languageEnglish
Article number001049
Pages (from-to)1-13
Number of pages13
Issue number4
Early online date21 Apr 2021
Publication statusPublished - 30 Apr 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was funded through the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC; EP/PO2081X/1) Resilient Materials for Life (RM4L) project with support from industrial collaborators/partners. TDH was supported by a University of Bath Research Studentship.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 The Authors.


  • Biogenic
  • Biologically induced mineralization
  • Biomineralization
  • Nucleation
  • Organomineralization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology


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