Polymeric alkylpyridinium salts (poly-APS) isolated from the Mediterranean marine sponge, Haliclona (Rhizoniera) sarai
, effectively inhibit barnacle larva settlement and natural marine biofilm formation through a non-toxic and reversible mechanism. Potential use of poly-APS-like compounds as antifouling agents led to the chemical synthesis of monomeric and oligomeric 3-alkylpyridinium analogues. However, these are less efficient in settlement assays and have greater toxicity than the natural polymers. Recently, a new chemical synthesis method enabled the production of poly-APS analogues with antibacterial, antifungal and anti-acetylcholinesterase activities. The present study examines the antifouling properties and toxicity of six of these synthetic poly-APS using the barnacle (Amphibalanus amphitrite
) as a model (cyprids and II stage nauplii larvae) in settlement, acute and sub-acute toxicity assays. Two compounds, APS8 and APS12-3, show antifouling effects very similar to natural poly-APS, with an anti-settlement effective concentration that inhibits 50% of the cyprid population settlement (EC50
) after 24 h of 0.32 mg/L and 0.89 mg/L, respectively. The toxicity of APS8 is negligible, while APS12-3 is three-fold more toxic (24-h LC50
: nauplii, 11.60 mg/L; cyprids, 61.13 mg/L) than natural poly-APS. This toxicity of APS12-3 towards nauplii is, however, 60-fold and 1200-fold lower than that of the common co-biocides, Zn- and Cu-pyrithione, respectively. Additionally, exposure to APS12-3 for 24 and 48 h inhibits the naupliar swimming ability with respective IC50
of 4.83 and 1.86 mg/L.