Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Swedish scientists stop acorn barnacles

15.03.2010
Marine organisms that fasten to the bottoms of ships have always been a scourge to seafaring. By monitoring how the larvae of acorn barnacles go about finding suitable spots to attach themselves, researchers at Linköping University in Sweden have managed to design surfaces that prevent growths - without using poisonous chemicals.

Acorn barnacles, which are animals, are among the most notorious stowaways at sea. A vessel with its hull covered by their hard calcium shells moves more slowly and uses more fuel.

The most common method to prevent surface fouling is to apply toxic hull paint. The most effective substance has been tributhyl tin (TBT), which is now totally banned. But until now no really good alternatives to toxic paint have been found.

"Our strategy, instead, is to design surfaces that the barnacle glue doesn't stick to. The idea is for the larvae to swim off and find another place to fasten themselves for the rest of their lives," says Tobias Ekblad, a doctoral candidate in molecular physics and an associate in the EU project AMBIO.

To study how a larva walks around on its 'feet' - actually the front parts of a couple of antennae - and leaves micrometer-size footprints, the scientists make use of so-called surface plasmon resonance. This measurement method, based on electromagnetic wave movements in the interface between the surface and sea water, can detect the minimal optical changes that occur when the thin (10 millionths of a millimeter) footprints are made. In this way they can see in real time how the prints occur and monitor their movements back and forth across the surface.

The findings presented in Tobias Ekblad's thesis show that what determines whether the larvae like a surface or not is chemistry. Ekblad has developed a method to cover a material with a thin layer of water-filled gel, a hydrogel, that has been tested with different chemical components. For example, layers containing the polymer polyethylene glycol (PEG) have been shown to yield excellent results.

The researchers have also studied the effect of how blood coagulates on various surfaces, a problem that is encountered when prostheses are operated into the body. As in the barnacle growth project, they have found that the usable materials are those that dramatically decrease the binding of proteins to the surface.

Contact:
Tobias Ekblad, phone: +46 (0)13-285648; mobile: +46 (0)70-3345768, tobias.ekblad@liu.se

Pressofficer Åke Hjelm, +46-13281 395;ake.hjem@liu.se

Reference link: AMBIO (Advanced Nanostructured Surfaces for the Control of Biofouling http://www.ambio.bham.ac.uk/index.shtml

Åke Hjelm | idw
Further information:
http://www.ambio.bham.ac.uk/index.shtml
http://liu.diva-portal.org/smash/record.jsf?pid=diva2:302627
http://www.ambio.bham.ac.uk/index.shtml AMBIO

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Climate Impact Research in Hannover: Small Plants against Large Waves
17.08.2018 | Leibniz Universität Hannover

nachricht First transcription atlas of all wheat genes expands prospects for research and cultivation
17.08.2018 | Leibniz-Institut für Pflanzengenetik und Kulturpflanzenforschung

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Color effects from transparent 3D-printed nanostructures

New design tool automatically creates nanostructure 3D-print templates for user-given colors
Scientists present work at prestigious SIGGRAPH conference

Most of the objects we see are colored by pigments, but using pigments has disadvantages: such colors can fade, industrial pigments are often toxic, and...

Im Focus: Unraveling the nature of 'whistlers' from space in the lab

A new study sheds light on how ultralow frequency radio waves and plasmas interact

Scientists at the University of California, Los Angeles present new research on a curious cosmic phenomenon known as "whistlers" -- very low frequency packets...

Im Focus: New interactive machine learning tool makes car designs more aerodynamic

Scientists develop first tool to use machine learning methods to compute flow around interactively designable 3D objects. Tool will be presented at this year’s prestigious SIGGRAPH conference.

When engineers or designers want to test the aerodynamic properties of the newly designed shape of a car, airplane, or other object, they would normally model...

Im Focus: Robots as 'pump attendants': TU Graz develops robot-controlled rapid charging system for e-vehicles

Researchers from TU Graz and their industry partners have unveiled a world first: the prototype of a robot-controlled, high-speed combined charging system (CCS) for electric vehicles that enables series charging of cars in various parking positions.

Global demand for electric vehicles is forecast to rise sharply: by 2025, the number of new vehicle registrations is expected to reach 25 million per year....

Im Focus: The “TRiC” to folding actin

Proteins must be folded correctly to fulfill their molecular functions in cells. Molecular assistants called chaperones help proteins exploit their inbuilt folding potential and reach the correct three-dimensional structure. Researchers at the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry (MPIB) have demonstrated that actin, the most abundant protein in higher developed cells, does not have the inbuilt potential to fold and instead requires special assistance to fold into its active state. The chaperone TRiC uses a previously undescribed mechanism to perform actin folding. The study was recently published in the journal Cell.

Actin is the most abundant protein in highly developed cells and has diverse functions in processes like cell stabilization, cell division and muscle...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

LaserForum 2018 deals with 3D production of components

17.08.2018 | Event News

Within reach of the Universe

08.08.2018 | Event News

A journey through the history of microscopy – new exhibition opens at the MDC

27.07.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Smallest transistor worldwide switches current with a single atom in solid electrolyte

17.08.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Robots as Tools and Partners in Rehabilitation

17.08.2018 | Information Technology

Climate Impact Research in Hannover: Small Plants against Large Waves

17.08.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>