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Sustainable barnacle-repelling paint could help the shipping industry and the environment

Date:
April 30, 2014
Source:
American Chemical Society
Summary:
Barnacles might seem like a given part of a seasoned ship's hull, but they're literally quite a drag and cause a ship to burn more fuel. To prevent these and other hangers-on from slowing ships down, scientists are developing a sustainable paint ingredient from plants that can repel clingy sea critters without killing them.

Barnacles might seem like a given part of a seasoned ship's hull, but they're literally quite a drag and cause a ship to burn more fuel. To prevent these and other hangers-on from slowing ships down, scientists are developing a sustainable paint ingredient from plants that can repel clingy sea critters without killing them. The report appears in the ACS journal Industrial & Engineering Chemistry Research.

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Guillermo Blustein and colleagues explain that barnacles and other ocean creatures that stick to hulls create a cascade of problems. By increasing water resistance, they can bump a ship's fuel use by as much as 40 percent, which costs money, adds to pollution and depletes resources. These marine hitchhikers also can cause environmental problems by invading new parts of the globe and competing with native animals and plants. To keep hulls clean, some shipping companies have turned to special coatings. The problem is these coatings can permanently harm sea life. So the team sought an ocean-friendlier option from a sustainable source.

They turned to Maytenus trees, which are found worldwide. The plants' root bark contains compounds that are similar to defensive agents produced by bottom-dwelling ocean creatures. In the lab, the scientists found that the compounds repel barnacles, but generally don't cause long-term damage. They also added the compounds to paint, which they applied to tiles and field-tested in the sea. The new coatings effectively stopped algae, tube worms and other creatures from latching on.


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The above story is based on materials provided by American Chemical Society. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Miriam Pérez, Marianela Sánchez, Mirta Stupak, Mónica García, María T. Rojo de Almeida, Juan C. Oberti, Jorge A. Palermo, Guillermo Blustein. Antifouling Activity of Celastroids Isolated fromMaytenusSpecies, Natural and Sustainable Alternatives for Marine Coatings. Industrial & Engineering Chemistry Research, 2014; 140423080039002 DOI: 10.1021/ie4033507

Cite This Page:

American Chemical Society. "Sustainable barnacle-repelling paint could help the shipping industry and the environment." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 30 April 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/04/140430112253.htm>.
American Chemical Society. (2014, April 30). Sustainable barnacle-repelling paint could help the shipping industry and the environment. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 19, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/04/140430112253.htm
American Chemical Society. "Sustainable barnacle-repelling paint could help the shipping industry and the environment." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/04/140430112253.htm (accessed December 19, 2014).

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