Annalee Newitz reports from the frontier of biotechnology for io9.com, asking a very pertinent question:
A group of UK students have engineered a new bacteria they call BacillaFilla. It swarms into concrete cracks, then secretes a gluey mixture that hardens into concrete filler. But what if this bacteria escaped into the wild and started reproducing?
Newitz describes the way that BacillaFilla works and concludes:
But what happens when that future arrives, and workers accidentally inhale some of that BacillaFilla? Maybe it lands on their teeth, whose calcium content is close enough to being like concrete that suddenly you’ve got workers with a mouthful of concrete. Or maybe you’ll start to see walls and bridges growing tumors: Places where the BacillaFilla didn’t stop growing after the cracks were filled in.
Pretty scary stuff!