Principal Investigator
Marta Correia da Silva

Leader Institution

Research Teams


Antiincrustante: Overcoming environmental problems associated with antifouling agents: synthesis of Natureinspired nontoxic biocides and immobilization in polymeric coatings.

We currently do not have a viable option for widespread replacement of copper in antifouling paints. Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) alerted to the severe ecological consequences when no acceptable alternatives exist, namely, acceleration of green house and acid rain effects, due to higher heavy oil consumption, and trans-global contamination of ecosystems with exotic organisms. So, there is a practical and urgent need of identifying innovative environmentally friendly and nontoxic technologies to combat biofouling. Marine natural products have been considered as one of the most promising sources of antifouling compounds in recent years. For example, zosteric acid, which is a p-sulfated cinnamic acid derived from the marine angiosperm Zostera marina, has received much attention as a potential natural product antifoulant. Zosteric acid is fully biodegradable and possesses a half-life in seawater of a few days but the compound has high water solubility and its release from conventional antifouling paints is difficult to control. The team of this project developed a technology to synthesize innovative zosteric acid-inspired compounds, and a new immobilization technology to incorporate them in polymeric coatings. The combination of these two technologies can provide an important contribution to overcome the current limitations on biofouling control.