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Environ Sci Technol. 2013 Jun 18;47(12):6573-81. doi: 10.1021/es400161t. Epub 2013 May 29.

Antifouling action of polyisoprene-based coatings by inhibition of photosynthesis in microalgae.

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UMR CNRS N° 6283, Méthodologie et Synthèse des Polymères, Département Méthodologie et Synthèse, Institut des Molécules et des Matériaux du Mans, Université du Maine, Avenue Olivier Messiaen, 72085 Le Mans Cedex 9, France.


Previous studies have demonstrated that ionic and non-ionic natural rubber-based coatings inhibit adhesion and growth of marine bacteria, fungi, microalgae, and spores of macroalgae. Nevertheless, the mechanism of action of these coatings on the different micro-organisms is not known. In the current study, antifouling activity of a series of these rubber-based coatings (one ionic and two non-ionic) was studied with respect to impacts on marine microalgal photosynthesis using pulse-amplitude-modulation (PAM) fluorescence. When grown in contact with the three different coatings, an inhibition of photosynthetic rate (relative electron transport rate, rETR) was observed in all of the four species of pennate diatoms involved in microfouling, Cocconeis scutellum, Amphora coffeaeformis, Cylindrotheca closterium, and Navicula jeffreyi. The percentage of inhibition ranged from 44% to 100% of the controls, depending on the species and the coating. The ionic coating was the most efficient antifouling (AF) treatment, and C. scutellum and A. coffeaeformis are the most sensitive and tolerant diatoms tested, respectively. Photosynthetic inhibition was reversible, as almost complete recovery of rETR was observed 48 h post exposure, after detachment of cells from the coatings. Thus, the antifouling activity seemed mostly due to an effect of contact with materials. It is hypothesized that photosynthetic activity was suppressed by coatings due to interference in calcium availability to the microalgal cells; Ca(2+) has been shown to be an essential micro/macro nutrient for photosynthesis, as well as being involved in cell adhesion and motility in pennate diatoms.

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