NSF grant awarded to MariCal for biofouling research Published: 08 April, 2009
The National Science Foundation has awarded a highly competitive Phase I Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant of $99,400 to MariCal, Inc. for support of the Companys research in methods for controlling biofouling of marine surfaces. This project, under the direction of MariCal Research Scientist, Steven H. Jury, Ph.D., aims to develop a novel non-toxic antifouling technology as an alternative to existing biocidal metal-based coatings.
Biofouling, the colonisation of submerged surfaces by aquatic organisms, is a major problem for all marine industries and presents a severe operational problem to aquaculture. The cost of antifouling to the global aquaculture industry is estimated to be in excess of $300 million. On fish net pens as well as mollusk culture facilities, biofouling can restrict water flow through supporting structures and prevent the optimal growth and development of fish and shellfish. However, current methods for controlling biofouling are limited to biocidal (often heavy metals like copper) antifoulants that are undesirable for aquaculture because of possible adverse environmental effects and consumer concerns.
This R&D effort utilises MariCals calcium sensing receptor (CaSR) technology for development of a class of compounds that inhibit the settlement, attachment, or metamorphosis of invertebrates on marine surfaces. MariCals technology in this area was developed in conjunction with the Gulf of Maine Research Institute with funding from NASA (www.msgc.org) and Maine EPSCoR Program. Dr Jury states, ‘MariCal envisions a non-toxic antifouling system that will either replace or dramatically reduce the metal content of current toxic alternatives.’