In the present study, the overall economic impact of hull fouling on a mid-sized naval surface ship (Arleigh Burke-class destroyer DDG-51) has been analyzed. A range of costs associated with hull fouling was examined, including expenditures for fuel, hull coatings, hull coating application and removal, and hull cleaning. The results indicate that the primary cost associated with fouling is due to increased fuel consumption attributable to increased frictional drag. The costs related to hull cleaning and painting are much lower than the fuel costs. The overall cost associated with hull fouling for the Navy's present coating, cleaning, and fouling level is estimated to be $56M per year for the entire DDG-51 class or $1B over 15 years. The results of this study provide guidance as to the amount of money that can be reasonably spent for research, development, acquisition, and implementation of new technologies or management strategies to combat hull fouling.
A biofilm can be defined as a community of microorganisms adhering to a surface and surrounded by a complex matrix of extrapolymeric substances. It is now generally accepted that the biofilm growth mode induces microbial resistance to disinfection that can lead to substantial economic and health concerns. Although the precise origin of such resistance remains unclear, different studies have shown that it is a multifactorial process involving the spatial organization of the biofilm. This review will discuss the mechanisms identified as playing a role in biofilm resistance to disinfectants, as well as novel anti-biofilm strategies that have recently been explored.
Biofouling in marine aquaculture is a specific problem where both the target culture species and/or infrastructure are exposed to a diverse array of fouling organisms, with significant production impacts. In shellfish aquaculture the key impact is the direct fouling of stock causing physical damage, mechanical interference, biological competition and environmental modification, while infrastructure is also impacted. In contrast, the key impact in finfish aquaculture is the fouling of infrastructure which restricts water exchange, increases disease risk and causes deformation of cages and structures. Consequently, the economic costs associated with biofouling control are substantial. Conservative estimates are consistently between 5-10% of production costs (equivalent to US$ 1.5 to 3 billion yr −1 ), illustrating the need for effective mitigation methods and technologies. The control of biofouling in aquaculture is achieved through the avoidance of natural recruitment, physical removal and the use of antifoulants. However, the continued rise and expansion of the aquaculture industry and the increasingly stringent legislation for biocides in food production necessitates the development of innovative antifouling strategies. These must meet environmental, societal, and economic benchmarks while effectively preventing the settlement and growth of resilient multi-species consortia of biofouling organisms.
Any natural or artificial substratum exposed to seawater is quickly fouled by marine microorganisms and later by macrofouling species. Microfouling organisms on the surface of a substratum form heterogenic biofilms, which are composed of multiple species of heterotrophic bacteria, cyanobacteria, diatoms, protozoa and fungi. Biofilms on artificial structures create serious problems for industries worldwide, with effects including an increase in drag force and metal corrosion as well as a reduction in heat transfer efficiency. Additionally, microorganisms produce chemical compounds that may induce or inhibit settlement and growth of other fouling organisms. Since the last review by the first author on inhibition of biofouling by marine microbes in 2006, significant progress has been made in the field. Several antimicrobial, antialgal and antilarval compounds have been isolated from heterotrophic marine bacteria, cyanobacteria and fungi. Some of these compounds have multiple bioactivities. Microorganisms are able to disrupt biofilms by inhibition of bacterial signalling and production of enzymes that degrade bacterial signals and polymers. Epibiotic microorganisms associated with marine algae and invertebrates have a high antifouling (AF) potential, which can be used to solve biofouling problems in industry. However, more information about the production of AF compounds by marine microorganisms in situ and their mechanisms of action needs to be obtained. This review focuses on the AF activity of marine heterotrophic bacteria, cyanobacteria and fungi and covers publications from 2006 up to the end of 2012.
Antifouling (AF) biocides are the active ingredients in AF paints that prevent the settlement, adhesion and growth of organisms to a painted surface. A wide range of chemicals are used as AF biocides, which have very different physico-chemical properties and therefore differing environmental fates, behaviour and effects. Copper has been used as an antifoulant for centuries and extensive research has been performed to understand how copper speciation influences bioavailability and toxicity. For biocides that have been widely used over a number of decades, for example Irgarol 1051 and diuron, there are a large amount of environmental data in the public domain, including for their respective metabolites, that allows their environmental safety and potential risk to the environment to be assessed. For other biocides such as dichlofluanid, DCOIT (SeaNine 211) and zinc/copper pyrithione, there is a good understanding of their fate and effects. However, few monitoring studies have been performed and not so much is known about the fate and effects of their metabolites. There are also new or candidate biocides such as triphenylborane pyridine, Econea, capsaicin and medetomidine for which there is very little information in the public domain. This review provides an overview of the environmental fate and occurrence data that are in the public domain for AF biocides and provides some insight into the effects of these compounds on non-target organisms.
Since early 2008, an increasing number of countries have ratified an international treaty to ban the application of antifouling (AF) coatings based on organotin compounds (eg tributyltin (TBT) and triphenyltin). As a result, the demand for environmentally friendly, non-toxic or low-toxicity AF compounds and technologies (green AF agents) has become an urgent reality. Marine coatings based on Cu2O and various other biocides have a negative impact on the environment and they must eventually be replaced by new, effective, and environmentally friendly AF compounds. This mini-review describes important AF compounds discovered from a variety of organisms from 2004 until mid 2009, and discusses recent and general trends in the discovery of AF compounds. Finally, a perspective on the future of AF compound development is presented. The discussion is aimed at updating scientists and engineers on the current challenges facing AF research.
Nature provides many examples of mechanisms to control fouling. These defences can be copied (biomimetic) or tailored (bioinspired) to solve problems of fouling on manmade structures. With increasing research in this area over the last two decades, it is timely to review this burgeoning subject, in particular as the biofouling field shifts focus towards novel, physical mechanisms to prevent and control fouling. This change is being promoted by advances in nano- and micro-scale patterning as well as in a variety of nano-biotechnologies, which are transforming the translation of natural surfaces into experimental materials. In this article, research on the defence of marine organisms against fouling and the technologies they are defining is reviewed.
This review covers 214 marine natural compounds and 23 of their synthetic analogs, which were discovered and/or synthesized from mid-2009 to August 2014. The antifouling (AF) compounds reported have medium to high bioactivity (with a threshold of EC 50 < 15.0 mg ml −1 ). Among these compounds, 82 natural compounds were identified as new structures. All the compounds are marine-derived, demonstrating that marine organisms are prolific and promising sources of natural products that may be developed as environmentally friendly antifoulants. However, this mini-review excludes more than 200 compounds that were also reported as AF compounds but with rather weak bioactivity during the same period. Also excluded are terrestrial-derived AF compounds reported during the last five years. A brief discussion on current challenges in AF compound research is also provided to reflect the authors' own views in terms of future research directions.
Microbially-induced calcium carbonate (CaCO 3 ) precipitation (MICP) is a widely explored and promising technology for use in various engineering applications. In this review, CaCO 3 precipitation induced via urea hydrolysis (ureolysis) is examined for improving construction materials, cementing porous media, hydraulic control, and remediating environmental concerns. The control of MICP is explored through the manipulation of three factors: (1) the ureolytic activity (of microorganisms), (2) the reaction and transport rates of substrates, and (3) the saturation conditions of carbonate minerals. Many combinations of these factors have been researched to spatially and temporally control precipitation. This review discusses how optimization of MICP is attempted for different engineering applications in an effort to highlight the key research and development questions necessary to move MICP technologies toward commercial scale applications.
In this review, a brief synopsis of superhydrophobicity (i.e. extreme non-wettability) and its implications on marine fouling are presented. A short overview of wettability and recent experimental developments aimed at fabricating superhydrophobic surfaces by tailoring their chemical nature and physical appearance (i.e. substratum texture) are reviewed. The formation of responsive/"smart" surfaces, which adjust their physico-chemical properties to variations in some outside physical stimulus, including light, temperature, electric field, or solvent, is also described. Finally, implications of tailoring the surface chemistry, texture, and responsiveness of surfaces on the design of effective marine fouling coatings are considered and discussed.
Predictions of full-scale ship resistance and powering are made for antifouling coating systems with a range of roughness and fouling conditions. The estimates are based on results from laboratory-scale drag measurements and boundary layer similarity law analysis. In the present work, predictions are made for a mid-sized naval surface combatant at cruising speed and near maximum speed. The results indicate that slime films can lead to significant increases in resistance and powering, and heavy calcareous fouling results in powering penalties up to 86% at cruising speed. The present estimates show good agreement with results from full-scale ship power trials.
Staphylococcus aureus is a leading cause of nosocomial infections because of its resistance to diverse antibiotics. The formation of a biofilm is one of the mechanisms of drug resistance in S. aureus. The anti-biofilm abilities of 498 plant extracts against S. aureus were examined. Seventy-two plant extracts belonging to 59 genera and 38 families were found to significantly inhibit the formation of biofilms of S. aureus without affecting the growth of planktonic cells. The most active extract, from Alnus japonica, inhibited the formation of biofilms by three S. aureus strains by >70% at 20 μg ml −1 . Transcriptional analyses showed that extract of A. japonica repressed the intercellular adhesion genes icaA and icaD most markedly. Quercetin and tannic acid are major anti-biofilm compounds in the extract of A. japonica. Additionally, the extract of A. japonica and its component compound quercetin, reduced hemolysis by S. aureus. This phenomenon was not observed in the treatment with tannic acid. This study suggests that various plant extracts, such as quercetin and tannic acid, could be used to inhibit the formation of recalcitrant biofilms of S. aureus.
Biomaterial-associated infections remain a serious concern in modern healthcare. The development of materials that can resist or prevent bacterial attachment constitutes a promising approach to dealing with this problem. Antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) and enzymes have been recognized as promising candidates for the new generation of antimicrobial surfaces. AMPs have been the focus of great interest in recent years owing to a low propensity for developing bacterial resistance, broad-spectrum activity, high efficacy at very low concentrations, target specificity, and synergistic action with classical antibiotics. Biofilm-dispersing enzymes have been shown to inhibit biofilm formation, detach established biofilm, and increase biofilm susceptibility to other antimicrobials. This review critically examines the potential of these protein-like compounds for developing antibacterial coatings by reporting their immobilization into different substrata using different immobilization strategies.
Bacterial quorum sensing (QS) is a cell-cell communication and gene regulatory mechanism that allows bacteria to coordinate swarming, biofilm formation, stress resistance, and production of toxins and secondary metabolites in response to threshold concentrations of QS signals that accumulate within a diffusion-limited environment. This review focuses on the role of QS signaling and QS inhibition in marine bacteria by compounds derived from marine organisms. Since the formation of a biofilm is considered to be an initial step in the development of fouling, direct and indirect effects of QS signals and inhibitors on the process of marine biofouling are discussed. Directions for future investigations and QS-related biotechnological applications are highlighted.
The antimicrobial performance of two fouling-release coating systems, Intersleek 700 (R) (IS700; silicone technology), Intersleek 900 (R) (IS900; fluoropolymer technology) and a tie coat (TC, control surface) was investigated in a short term (10 days) field experiment conducted at a depth of ca 0.5 m in the Marina Bandar Rawdha (Muscat, Oman). Microfouling on coated glass slides was analyzed using epifluorescence microscopy and adenosine-5'-triphosphate (ATP) luminometry. All the coatings developed biofilms composed of heterotrophic bacteria, cyanobacteria, seven species of diatoms (2 species of Navicula, Cylindrotheca sp., Nitzschia sp., Amphora sp., Diploneis sp., and Bacillaria sp.) and algal spores (Ulva sp.). IS900 had significantly thinner biofilms with fewer diatom species, no algal spores and the least number of bacteria in comparison with IS700 and the TC. The ATP readings did not correspond to the numbers of bacteria and diatoms in the biofilms. The density of diatoms was negatively correlated with the density of the bacteria in biofilms on the IS900 coating, and, conversely, diatom density was positively correlated in biofilms on the TC. The higher antifouling efficacy of IS900 over IS700 may lead to lower roughness and thus lower fuel consumption for those vessels that utilise the IS900 fouling-release coating.
Mussel (Mytilus californianus) adhesion to marine surfaces involves an intricate and adaptive synergy of molecules and spatio-temporal processes. Although the molecules, such as mussel foot proteins (mfps), are well characterized, deposition details remain vague and speculative. Developing methods for the precise surveillance of conditions that apply during mfp deposition would aid both in understanding mussel adhesion and translating this adhesion into useful technologies. To probe the interfacial pH at which mussels buffer the local environment during mfp deposition, a lipid bilayer with tethered pH-sensitive fluorochromes was assembled on mica. The interfacial pH during foot contact with modified mica ranged from 2.2 to 3.3, which is well below the seawater pH of ~ 8. The acidic pH serves multiple functions: it limits mfp-Dopa oxidation, thereby enabling the catecholic functionalities to adsorb to surface oxides by H-bonding and metal ion coordination, and provides a solubility switch for mfps, most of which aggregate at pH ≥ 7-8.
The activity of two phenolic acids, gallic acid (GA) and ferulic acid (FA) at 1000 μg ml −1 , was evaluated on the prevention and control of biofilms formed by Escherichia coli, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Staphylococcus aureus and Listeria monocytogenes. In addition, the effect of the two phenolic acids was tested on planktonic cell susceptibility, bacterial motility and adhesion. Biofilm prevention and control were tested using a microtiter plate assay and the effect of the phenolic acids was assessed on biofilm mass (crystal violet staining) and on the quantification of metabolic activity (alamar blue assay). The minimum bactericidal concentration for P. aeruginosa was 500 μg ml −1 (for both phenolic acids), whilst for E. coli it was 2500 μg ml −1 (FA) and 5000 μg ml −1 (GA), for L. monocytogenes it was >5000 μg ml −1 (for both phenolic acids), and for S. aureus it was 5000 μg ml −1 (FA) and >5000 μg ml −1 (GA). GA caused total inhibition of swimming (L. monocytogenes) and swarming (L. monocytogenes and E. coli) motilities. FA caused total inhibition of swimming (L. monocytogenes) and swarming (L. monocytogenes and E. coli) motilities. Colony spreading of S. aureus was completely inhibited by FA. The interference of GA and FA with bacterial adhesion was evaluated by the determination of the free energy of adhesion. Adhesion was less favorable when the bacteria were exposed to GA (P. aeruginosa, S. aureus and L. monocytogenes) and FA (P. aeruginosa and S. aureus). Both phenolics had preventive action on biofilm formation and showed a higher potential to reduce the mass of biofilms formed by the Gram-negative bacteria. GA and FA promoted reductions in biofilm activity >70% for all the biofilms tested. The two phenolic acids demonstrated the potential to inhibit bacterial motility and to prevent and control biofilms of four important human pathogenic bacteria. This study also emphasizes the potential of phytochemicals as an emergent source of biofilm control products.
This review examines the electrochemical techniques used to study extracellular electron transfer in the electrochemically active biofilms that are used in microbial fuel cells and other bioelectrochemical systems. Electrochemically active biofilms are defined as biofilms that exchange electrons with conductive surfaces: electrodes. Following the electrochemical conventions, and recognizing that electrodes can be considered reactants in these bioelectrochemical processes, biofilms that deliver electrons to the biofilm electrode are called anodic, ie electrode-reducing, biofilms, while biofilms that accept electrons from the biofilm electrode are called cathodic, ie electrode-oxidizing, biofilms. How to grow these electrochemically active biofilms in bioelectrochemical systems is discussed and also the critical choices made in the experimental setup that affect the experimental results. The reactor configurations used in bioelectrochemical systems research are also described and the authors demonstrate how to use selected voltammetric techniques to study extracellular electron transfer in bioelectrochemical systems. Finally, some critical concerns with the proposed electron transfer mechanisms in bioelectrochemical systems are addressed together with the prospects of bioelectrochemical systems as energy-converting and energy-harvesting devices.
Quorum sensing (QS) is an important regulatory mechanism in biofilm formation and differentiation. Interference with QS can affect biofilm development and antimicrobial susceptibility. This study evaluates the potential of selected phytochemical products to inhibit QS. Three isothiocyanates (allylisothiocyanate - AITC, benzylisothiocyanate - BITC and 2-phenylethylisothiocyanate - PEITC) and six phenolic products (gallic acid - GA, ferulic acid - FA, caffeic acid - CA, phloridzin - PHL, (−) epicatechin - EPI and oleuropein glucoside - OG) were tested. A disc diffusion assay based on pigment inhibition in Chromobacterium violaceum CV12472 was performed. In addition, the mechanisms of QS inhibition (QSI) based on the modulation of N-acyl homoserine lactone (AHLs) activity and synthesis by the phytochemicals were investigated. The cytotoxicity of each product was tested on a cell line of mouse lung fibroblasts. AITC, BITC and PEITC demonstrated a capacity for QSI by modulation of AHL activity and synthesis, interfering the with QS systems of C. violaceum CviI/CviR homologs of LuxI/LuxR systems. The cytotoxic assays demonstrated low effects on the metabolic viability of the fibroblast cell line only for FA, PHL and EPI.
Biofilms confer protection from adverse environmental conditions and can be reservoirs for pathogenic organisms and sources of disease outbreaks, especially in medical devices. The goal of this research was to evaluate the anti-biofilm activities of silver nanoparticles (AgNPs) against several microorganisms of clinical interest. The antimicrobial activity of AgNPs was tested within biofilms generated under static conditions and also under high fluid shears conditions using a bioreactor. A 4-log reduction in the number of colony-forming units of Pseudomonas aeruginosa was recorded under turbulent fluid conditions in the CDC reactor on exposure to 100 mg ml −1 of AgNPs. The antibacterial activity of AgNPs on various microbial strains grown on polycarbonate membranes is reported. In conclusion, AgNPs effectively prevent the formation of biofilms and kill bacteria in established biofilms, which suggests that AgNPs could be used for prevention and treatment of biofilm-related infections. Further research and development are necessary to translate this technology into therapeutic and preventive strategies.