Fungi-mediated self-healing concrete: increasing lifespan and durability of concrete structures by inducing self-healing of cracks

Project Details


Concrete structures suffer from severe durability issues such as material degradation and reinforcement corrosion due to the ingress of water caused by crack formation, an inherent flaw of concrete. High maintenance and repair costs are therefore unavoidable and pose a burden to the economy.
In this research, a novel concept of using fungi is introduced, leading to more durable concrete structures where crack formation is no longer a threat for the steel reinforcement due to an increased resilience of the material. Very recent research shows that fungi are eligible candidates for this application; they promote the precipitation of CaCO3 onto fungal hyphae to fill and heal the cracks in concrete.

The species Trichoderma reesei (ATCC 13631) and a mutant of Aspergillus nidulans (MAD 1445) have proven their ability to grow on concrete and to precipitate CaCO3. The proposed research will investigate this biogenic crack repair more in detail, considering in a first stage surface growth and CaCO3 production on both standard and nutrientenriched concrete materials.
The creation of a water-repellent protective barrier will be of interest as well, since this could already prevent existing infrastructure from further deterioration. The hydrophobic character of mycelium (a network of fungal hyphae) will therefore be of great use. In a last step, the implementation of fungi in the concrete mix will be investigated, which is expected to yield self-healing capacities upon crack formation.
Effective start/end date1/11/2031/10/22


  • Durability: increasing lifespan and resilience of concrete structures
  • Self-healing of concrete through fungi
  • Multidisciplinary research: synergy between construction engineering, architecture, microbiology and material sciences

Flemish discipline codes

  • Mycology
  • Sustainable building
  • Construction materials
  • Biomaterials
  • Hybrid composites