Hokkaido University Research Profiles


Environmentally Friendly Marine Biofouling Prevention Compounds Derived from Biomass

Toxic marine anti-biofouling agents against barnacles and other marine organisms are causing pollution to the marine environment, and it is necessary to develop safe alternatives. We have succeeded in creating potent and low-toxicity compounds by synthesizing biomass-derived compounds. Further optimization is also possible.

Content of research

The use of the ocean by mankind (e.g., ships and cooling pipes for power plants) is essential, but marine fouling organisms such as barnacles impairs the fuel efficiency of ships and obstructs the functions, for example by clogging. Organotin compounds have been used to prevent functional impairment, but their use has been banned due to their toxicity, and the development of alternatives is desired. We are focusing on compounds used by marine organisms such as nudibranchs to protect against fouling by other organisms. As a result of synthesizing the compounds, we found functional groups (anti-fouling units) that are important for anti-fouling. The functional group was introduced into inexpensive biomass derived from marine organisms in a short process, and when the synthetic product was tested for anti-fouling (cypris larvae of striped barnacles), they were found to have both very strong anti-fouling activity and very weak toxicity. We are currently conducting research on the synthesis of similar compounds and the addition of further functions.

Potential for social implementation

  • The compounds can be used as such, or we can design and synthesize compounds according to your application. We currently have more than 10 grams of the compounds available for immediate consideration.

Appealing points to industry and local governments

Sustainable ocean use will be required in the future (SDG 14). The compounds we have developed are costly at present, but they can definitely meet the strong demand for sustainability in the future. We hope to conduct joint research to further develop compounds and mass synthesis methods.