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Bacterial Cellulose as a Building Material: Identifying opportunities, limitations and challenges

Lookup NU author(s): Heran Yang, Professor Ruth Morrow, Professor Ben BridgensORCiD, Professor Martyn Dade-Robertson



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


Bacterial cellulose (BC), a bacteria-synthesised cellulose material, has been intensively researched in biomedical, food and packaging over several decades. However, its application in the built environment (BE) has received less attention. This paper scopes out BC’s original properties and the methods used to modify them. This capability to modify the properties of BC offers exciting possibilities for creating building components with low environmental impact, enhanced properties and targeted performance. In its unprocessed hydrogel state, BC yields promising strength and durability. This biodegradable material's production process can be sustained by several waste streams, making it a promising material for the circular economy. When used in composites, BC can act as a scaffold for multiple nanoparticles and polymers, extending its properties to, for example, provide electrical conductivity or antimicrobial surfaces. However, to support BC’s application in the BE, the material must be studied at multiple scales, namely nano-, micro- and macro-scale. Standardised tests need to be developed and tailored to measure BC behaviour under complex BE scenarios. Its interaction with humidity, durability and its regenerative properties are identified as potentially fruitful areas for further investigation.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Yang H, Morrow R, Bridgens B, Zhang M, Loh J, Dade-Robinson M

Editor(s): R. Maddalena and M. Wright-Syed

Publication type: Conference Proceedings (inc. Abstract)

Publication status: Published

Conference Name: Resilient Materials 4 LIFE International Conference (RM4L2020)

Year of Conference: 2021

Print publication date: 20/09/2021

Online publication date: 20/09/2021

Acceptance date: 30/03/2021

Date deposited: 04/01/2024

Publisher: Cardiff University


Library holdings: Search Newcastle University Library for this item

ISBN: 9781399908320