year in review 2018 Paperturn - Page 148



BIO-BRICKS FROM URINE
A master’s student in civil engineering, Suzanne Lambert, unveiled the
world’s first bio-brick grown from human urine, signalling an innovative
paradigm shift in waste recovery.
the urea in urine while producing
calcium carbonate through a complex
chemical reaction. This cements the
sand into any shape, whether it’s
a solid column, or now, for the first
time, a rectangular building brick.
Lambert and civil engineering
honours student Vukheta Mukhari
have been hard at work in the
laboratory testing various bio-
The bio-bricks are created through
a natural process called microbial
carbonate precipitation. It’s not
unlike the way seashells are formed,
said Lambert’s supervisor Dr Dyllon
Randall, a senior lecturer in water
quality engineering.
In this case, loose sand is colonised
with bacteria that produce urease.
An enzyme, the urease breaks down
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