Sunday, 9 October 2011

Environmental friendly anti-fouling repells barnacles

Untreated part covered with barnacles.
Do you, like me, love to sail? Or just mess around in boats? Do you also, like me, feel a bit guilty about the gory stuff that keeps your bottom clean?  if so help is on the way.
A team of scientist have developed a anti-fouling that is effective against barnacles without being toxic to the marine environment.
 For non-boaters: A barnacle is a small rockhard shellfish that colonizes hard surfaces. When they in great numbers settle on a boat bottoms they greatly increase resistance and fuel consumption. The normal treatment is to paint the bottom with a toxic paint loaded with metal like copper and tin. Those create havoc in estuaries. Amongst other things they make small marine slugs to change sex.

The team from the University of Gothenburg have made a anti-fouling without metal. Instead they added  a minute amount of Ivermectin, a wide spread veterinary medicine used against parasitic infections. It does not kill the barnacle larvae. But it stops them from getting a firm hold of the bottom so they fall of and dies.

Being a drug it has its own environmental hazards. The researchers have however, by tinkering whit the composition of the paint,  found a method to stop the drug from leaking in to the water. Good news for marine life, and good news for boaters - the coat of paint is effective for more than one season.

Read more here.

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