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An Innovative Non-Petroleum Rhizobium Tropici Biopolymer Salt for Soil Stabilization

[+] Author Affiliations
Steven Larson, John Ballard, Christopher Griggs, J. Kent Newman

U. S. Army Corps of Engineers - Engineer Research & Development Center, Vicksburg, MS

Catherine Nestler

Applied Research Associates, Vicksburg, MS

Paper No. IMECE2010-38933, pp. 1279-1284; 6 pages
doi:10.1115/IMECE2010-38933
From:
  • ASME 2010 International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition
  • Volume 5: Energy Systems Analysis, Thermodynamics and Sustainability; NanoEngineering for Energy; Engineering to Address Climate Change, Parts A and B
  • Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, November 12–18, 2010
  • Conference Sponsors: ASME
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-4429-8
  • Copyright © 2010 by ASME

abstract

Construction site soils are a significant source of sediment, and pollutants carried by sediment, to surface water runoff. Currently, silt fences/barriers, petroleum-derived polymers, and re-vegetation are the primary tools to prevent sediment loss from construction areas. Even with these methods in place, the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates that 20 to 150 tons of soil per acre is lost to storm water runoff from construction sites each year. A low-cost, environmentally friendly soil amendment that reduces erosion from construction sites would improve surface water quality. An extracellular polymeric substance (EPS) is produced naturally by the symbiotic soil bacterium Rhizobium tropici. A dry, easily transportable salt of this biopolymer, when mixed with soil at low levels (0.01 to 0.5% by mass) substantially increases the soil strength for load bearing, decreases surface erosion and suspended solids in surface water runoff. Re-vegetation is also assisted by biopolymer application, since drought resistance and seed germination rates can be increased by 30% to 40% using the biopolymer. Results of mesoscale rainfall lysimeter system demonstrations of soil amendment with biopolymer documents reduced soil erosion, reduced transport of suspended solids in surface water runoff, and increased establishment success of vegetative cover under simulated drought conditions in biopolymer amended soils.

Copyright © 2010 by ASME
Topics: Petroleum , Soil

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