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Biofouling. 2009;25(6):563-71. doi: 10.1080/08927010902995564.

Involvement of reactive oxygen species in the electrochemical inhibition of barnacle (Amphibalanus amphitrite) settlement.

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Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI, USA.


The role of reactive oxygen species (ROS) in electrochemical biofouling inhibition was investigated using a series of abiotic tests and settlement experiments with larvae of the barnacle Amphibalanus amphitrite, a cosmopolitan fouler. Larval settlement, a measure of biofouling potential, was reduced from 43% +/- 14% to 5% +/- 6% upon the application of pulsed electric signals. The application of ROS scavengers such as glutathione and catalase counteracted the inhibitory effects of the electric signals, allowing settlement, and thus indicating that ROS are antifouling agents. Based on the experimental evidence, the proposed mechanism for ROS-based fouling prevention with interdigitated electrodes involved the electrochemical generation of hydrogen peroxide by oxygen reduction, and its likely reduction to hydroxyl radicals. Either hydroxyl radicals or products of hydroxyl radical reactions appeared to be the main deterrents of larval settlement.

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