NEWS! One of the world’s finest products for road stabilization. Funded by the Federal Highway Administration, the Civil Engineering Research Foundation (CERF) has made an evaluation of the environmental/toxicological impact of the use of Perma-Zyme as a soil stabilization product.


is a unique, soil-stabilizing product with the potential to significantly reduce your overall costs for road construction and maintenance. PERMA-ZYME is a non-toxic formulation of enzyme-rich materials that is manufactured through a natural fermentation process using only sugars and other 100% natural, organic compounds.

When mixed with water and applied during compaction, PERMA-ZYME acts upon the soil’s organic fines through a catalytic bonding process producing a strong cementation effect. The result is a durable and water-resistant mix that can be used in any climatic environment as a sub-base or as a primary surface. Typically, the bonding process will be sufficiently cured within 72 hours to permit a road’s use by normal traffic.

The product is both safe and convenient to handle. It is highly concentrated and is available in handy 5-gallon containers. Only 15 gallons of PERMA-ZYME are needed for a one-mile road surface, 25-feet wide and 6-inches deep. No special construction or handling equipment is required to apply PERMA-ZYME, only a blade or mixer/reclaimer, a water truck and a roller.

Because the enzymes in PERMA-ZYME interact with a wide variety of soil materials, maximum use can be made of existing soils. This minimizes the need to haul in additional materials. And because it is mixed on site, construction crews will encounter no storage or waste problems.

All these factors make PERMA-ZYME highly economical with considerable cost savings of 3-5 times when compared with conventional road construction methods.


What are Enzymes?

Enzymes act as catalysts for virtually every chemical reaction that occurs in plant and animal life.
Enzymes are naturally occurring protein molecules. Each enzyme is specifically tailored to promote a chemical reaction within or between other molecules. The enzymes themselves are unchanged by these reactions; rather, they serve as a “host” or “matchmaker” for the other molecules, greatly accelerating the rate of normal chemical and physical reactions.
The specific nature of enzymatic actions can be likened to a “lock and key.” If the target molecule or molecules do not have the right properties, the enzyme will not serve as a “host” for promoting the desired chemical reaction. This is why PERMA-ZYME is unique and out-performs all other road treatment materials.

PERMA-ZYME is formulated with an enzyme-rich material which was the product of a natural fermentation process using cane sugars and other proprietary organic compounds. The enzymes have been tailored to provide the “lock” for numerous soil materials and promote the desired alteration of their properties, causing a rapid cementation process to occur.

PERMA-ZYME is also blended with a biodegradable surfactant that reduces the surface tension, bringing the enzymes in closer contact with the soil materials, further promoting enzymatic reactions.

Road Construction
  • Stabilizing layers
  • Sub base plenum
  • Shoulders
  • Park and rest area
  • Railway Construction
  • Rail bed stabilization
  • Embankment improvements
Unstabilized Paths
  • Logging roads
  • Bicycle and pedestrian paths
  • Natural drive ways, access roads
  • Field paths
  • Gravel roads
General Construction
  • Filling behind retainer walls
  • injections
High Rises
  • Stabilizing the foundation
  • Securing the ditches
  • Sub base stabilization
  • Ditch securing and sub-filling
Ditch and Canal Construction
  • Filling ditches
  • Embedding pipes
Other Applications
  • Dust abatement
The study found, in conclusion, that:
  • There are seven chemicals found in Perma-Zyme which are listed in EPA’s RBC table.
  • After Perma-Zyme is applied in soil, all seven chemicals’ concentrations in soil will be significantly lower than the RBC levels in residential soil, which means that application of Perma-Zyme does not increase risk level of soils.
  • Pure Perma-Zyme is either slightly toxic or moderately toxic according to different toxicological analyses.
  • Perma-Zyme Application Mixture is practically non-toxic in all the toxicological analyses.
Is there any effect when Perma-Zyme is mixed with any other organic material e.g. CaO or CaCO3?

Perma-Zyme works well with all organic soils. It will increase the bonding of the fines (-200 mesh) and allow greater moisture penetration to facilitate compaction. Perma-Zyme has been used successfully in roads containing Limestone (CaO). Calcite (CaCO3), a fine grain limestone or soft earthy clay, also reacts positively with Perma-Zyme, however the use of clays should be minimized in road building – usually less than 30% -200 mesh. As time goes on will Perma-Zyme reduce or increase its bonding strength? Will the road come out with cracks or become fragile? Perma-Zyme treated soils (for roads or ponds) achieve their greatest strength at the time of compaction and immediate subsequent curing (72 hours drying). Bonding of the soil particles takes place in the presence of moisture and comp active force. This condition will last as long as the material resists external forces. Heavy wheel loads, water, freeze-thaw cycles ultimately have an effect on all roads. Perma-Zyme treated soil resists these forces due to the bonded, high density of the road material. The road will resist the detrimental effects of erosion and mechanical forces.

Cracking occurs as a result of two factors:

(1) If the road material contains a high percent of expansive clays – having a high shrink-swell factor. When the road is completed and dries out some cracking will appear. This reduces the effectiveness of the roads stability, however we have seen roads showing this condition that have performed very well – but with reduced life. (2) Soft sub-base may not support the treated base under wheel loads i.e. expansive clays. The bearing capability of the road is insufficient. This is corrected by increasing the thickness of the road base. When the Clay fines (minus 299 meshes) exceed 25% or are highly expansive some surface cracking will occur. Generally the cracks are superficial, often filling in with road particles during normal traffic use. Generally this condition is referred to as “Alligator Cracking” and does not significantly affect to stability of the road base. Rain or other moisture will moderately swell the clay fines and the cracks will close. If the clay material is highly expansive, then the amount of fines should be kept low to reduce the amount of cracking. Prior to placement of any surface material, the Perma-Zyme treated soil should be lightly sprayed with a dilute solution of water & Perma-Zyme to assist in the bonding of the new surface material (i.e. Asphalt) to the road base. Moisture will close many of the cracks. Reflective cracks should not migrate upward through the asphalt, unless the clay fines are in the upper range and site conditions see radical sub-surface ground moisture variations. Proper drainage will reduce ground moisture and keep cracking to a minimum. Surfaces will reduce the amount of dust.

When the road contains more than 20-30% clay, will the road surface become too slippery and lose traction?

Road constructed with material containing a high clay contact will exhibit slippery surfaces when wet. It is necessary to use as much aggregate as possible to not only increase overall strength of the road and increase traction as well in wet conditions. In many applications surface treatment is applied as part of the overall design. This provides a wearing surface for traction, moisture protection, and greater overall strength. Cost and availability of materials are the primary factors affecting the type of surface treatment, if any. Perma-Zyme works well with soils that have a clay content passing a 200-mesh screen between 18% to 30%. This range of fines has been indicated as an acceptable range for road building material. The State of California Transportation Dept. has recently tested Perma-Zyme in soil that has a high clay content and found approx. 27% increase in unconfined compressive strength using Perma-Zyme. The soil tested was substantial clay with over 95 % passing a 200-mesh screen. The clay is classified as ‘FAT CLAY’. In road building it is desirable to minimize excessive clay content. Under moist conditions the surface will not have proper surface friction and excessive plasticity may be present.

Rex Funk, Emery County Road Supervisor, Utah

has experience using Perma-Zyme for over five years, he has reduced his road maintenance by 25% for example where a road typically required bimonthly grading activities, and periodic re-gravelling he used Perma-Zyme to stabilize the road and then placed a thin “chip seal” over the surface. A portion of the road was left bare. Substantial cost saving were obtained and the “bare section of road did not require any maintenance for over 16 months. This road is in a rural location in Emery County, however it receives a wide range of traffic. In Utah, there are some roads that have been in use for over 8 years with no significant maintenance. Photos of the road are in the Perma-Zyme Manual (Jerome County).

How long will road last when used with Perma-Zyme?

Perma-Zyme treated roads have been in use for over 10 years.

The longevity of a road is a function of several factors:

  • Climatic conditions such as temperature ranges and rainfall
  • Type of soils used in construction
  • Road design – crowning, drainage & other engineered parameters
  • Type of vehicular traffic, speed and degree of usage
  • Wearing surface applied (if any).

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