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Biofouling. 2011 Oct;27(9):1043-55. doi: 10.1080/08927014.2011.625474.

Effects of surface charge and Gibbs surface energy on the settlement behaviour of barnacle cyprids (Balanus amphitrite).

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Division of Molecular Physics, Department of Physics, Chemistry and Biology, Linköping University Linköping , SE-581 83, Sweden.


Gibbs surface energy has long been considered to be an important parameter in the design of fouling-resistant surfaces for marine applications. Rigorous testing of the hypothesis that settlement is related to Gibbs surface energy however has never been accomplished, due mainly to practical limitations imposed by the necessary combination of surface engineering and biological evaluation methods. In this article, the effects of surface charge and Gibbs surface energy on the settlement of cyprids of an important fouling barnacle, Balanus amphitrite, were evaluated. Settlement assays were conducted on a range of self-assembled monolayers (SAMs) (CH(3)-, OH-, COOH-, N(CH(3))(3) (+)-, NH(2)-terminated), presented in gold-coated polystyrene well plates, varying in terms of their surface charge and Gibbs surface energy. Contrary to contemporary theory, settlement was not increased by high-energy surfaces, rather the opposite was found to be the case with cyprids settling in greater numbers on a low-energy CH(3)- SAM compared to a high-energy OH- SAM. Settlement was also greater on negatively-charged SAMs, compared to neutral and positively-charged SAMs. These findings are discussed in the context of data drawn from surfaces that varied in multiple characteristics simultaneously, as have been used previously for such experiments. The finding that surface charge, rather than total surface energy, may be responsible for surface selection by cyprids, will have significant implications for the design of future fouling-resistant materials.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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