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Int J Mol Sci. 2012;13(2):1541-60. doi: 10.3390/ijms13021541. Epub 2012 Feb 2.

Risks of using antifouling biocides in aquaculture.

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  • 1Department of Cell Biology and Histology, Faculty of Biology, University of Murcia, Murcia 30100, Spain; E-Mails: (F.A.G.); (A.C.); (J.M.).


Biocides are chemical substances that can deter or kill the microorganisms responsible for biofouling. The rapid expansion of the aquaculture industry is having a significant impact on the marine ecosystems. As the industry expands, it requires the use of more drugs, disinfectants and antifoulant compounds (biocides) to eliminate the microorganisms in the aquaculture facilities. The use of biocides in the aquatic environment, however, has proved to be harmful as it has toxic effects on the marine environment. Organic booster biocides were recently introduced as alternatives to the organotin compounds found in antifouling products after restrictions were imposed on the use of tributyltin (TBT). The replacement products are generally based on copper metal oxides and organic biocides. The biocides that are most commonly used in antifouling paints include chlorothalonil, dichlofluanid, DCOIT (4,5-dichloro-2-n-octyl-4-isothiazolin-3-one, Sea-nine 211(®)), Diuron, Irgarol 1051, TCMS pyridine (2,3,3,6-tetrachloro-4-methylsulfonyl pyridine), zinc pyrithione and Zineb. There are two types of risks associated with the use of biocides in aquaculture: (i) predators and humans may ingest the fish and shellfish that have accumulated in these contaminants and (ii) the development of antibiotic resistance in bacteria. This paper provides an overview of the effects of antifouling (AF) biocides on aquatic organisms. It also provides some insights into the effects and risks of these compounds on non-target organisms.


antibiotics; antifouling; aquaculture; biocides; environment; resistance

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