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Paints and coatings containing bactericidal agent nanoparticles combat marine fouling
Date:7/2/2012

hemistry at JGU. Certain enzymes found in brown and red algae produce halogen compounds that have a biocidal potential. It is assumed that these are synthesized by the algae to protect them against microbial attack and predators. The chemists at Mainz University decided to mimic this process using vanadium pentoxide nanoparticles. According to their article published in Nature Nanotechnology, vanadium pentoxide (V2O5) nanoparticles have "an intrinsic biomimetic bromination activity [] which makes them a practical and cost-efficient alternative for conventional chemical biocides." Vanadium pentoxide functions as a catalyst so that hydrogen peroxide and bromide combine to form small quantities of hypobromous acid, which is highly toxic to many microorganisms and has a pronounced antibacterial effect. The required reactants are present in seawater: This already contains bromide ions, while small quantities of hydrogen peroxide are formed when it is exposed to sunlight.

The process has been demonstrated both under laboratory conditions and in natural seawater. It has only very minimal consequences for the environment because the effect is restricted to micro-surfaces. The metallic oxide is particularly potent when it is present in the form of nanoparticles because then, due to the larger surface area, there is an enhanced catalytic effect.

"Vanadium pentoxide nanoparticles, due to their poor solubility and the fact that they are embedded in the coating, are considerably less toxic to marine life than are the tin- and copper-based active substances used in the commercially available products," explains Wolfgang Tremel. In his view, ships' coatings based on vanadium pentoxide could be a practical and cost-effective alternative to conventional chemical biocides. "Here we have an environmentally-compatible component for a new generation of antifouling paints that employ the natural defense mechanism used by marine organisms."
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Contact: Dr. Wolfgang Tremel
tremel@uni-mainz.de
49-613-139-25135
Johannes Gutenberg Universitaet Mainz
Source:Eurekalert

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