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Cyanobacteria as a Source of New Antifouling Sustainable Solutions †

Faculdade de Ciências (FCUP), Universidade do Porto, 4169-007 Porto, Portugal
Centro Interdisciplinar de Investigação Marinha e Ambiental (CIIMAR), Universidade do Porto, 4450-208 Matosinhos, Portugal
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Presented at the 7th Iberian Congress on Cyanotoxins/3rd Iberoamerican Congress on Cyanotoxins, Ponta Delgada, Portugal, 18–20 July 2022.
Presenting author (poster).
Biol. Life Sci. Forum 2022, 14(1), 37;
Published: 26 July 2022


The usage of paints and coatings with toxic components for the mitigation of marine biofouling in submerged surfaces continues to cause economic, environmental and human health-related problems worldwide. Natural products have the potential to provide solutions for antifouling applications that are effective and ecologically compatible. The diversity of the secondary metabolites that are produced by cyanobacteria make these organisms a promising source of bioactive compounds, especially when antifouling activity has already been documented. The purpose of this study was to explore the metabolic diversity of a range of cyanobacterial strains from the Blue Biotechnology and Ecotoxicology Culture Collection (LEGE-CC) in search of eco-friendly bioactive compounds for antifouling purposes. A library of fractions, derived from methanolic extracts, belonging to different cyanobacterial strains, was tested towards a prominent macrofouling organism settlement (Mytilus galloprovincialis larvae). Promising fractions were submitted to a bioassay guided sub-fractioning that led to the isolation of two compounds. Their structure elucidation was determined by 1D and 2D nuclear magnetic resonance and by mass spectrometry. Anti-settlement effectiveness was assessed through an EC50 bioassay with mussel larvae, as well as antifouling bioactivity towards the growth of five marine biofilm-forming bacteria. The results showed bioactivity against the mussel larvae settlement and low toxicity, but no bacterial growth inhibition was found for the nucleosides (<10% of inhibition). Moreover, general ecotoxicity to the marine environment was evaluated, and the compounds also presented no toxicity against Artemia salina, proving them to be ecologically compatible. These promising results confirm the inherent potential of cyanobacteria to provide more sustainable antifouling ingredients to be incorporated in marine coatings.

Author Contributions

Conceptualization, J.R.A. and M.R.; methodology, S.P., L.F. and C.G.; validation, J.R.A. and M.R.; investigation, S.P., L.F., C.G., V.V., M.R. and J.R.A.; resources, J.R.A., M.R. and V.V.; data curation, S.P.; writing—original draft preparation, S.P.; writing—review and editing, J.R.A., V.V. and M.R.; supervision, J.R.A., V.V. and M.R.; project administration, J.R.A. and M.R.; funding acquisition, J.R.A., M.R. and V.V. All authors have read and agreed to the published version of the manuscript.


The study was conducted within the scope of UIDB/04423/2020 and UIDP/04423/2020, under the projects NASCEM PTDC/BTA-BTA/31422/2017 (POCI-01-0145-FEDER-031422) financed by FCT, COMPETE2020 and PORTUGAL2020, and CYANCAN (PTDC/MED-QUI/30944/2017) co-financed by NORTE2020, Portugal2020 and the European Union through the ERDF and by FCT; by the structured program of R&D&I ATLANTIDA (reference NORTE-01-0145-FEDER-000040), supported by NORTE2020, through the ERDF; and by the project EMERTOX through the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement No 778069. SP is supported by FCT grant SFRH/BD/145380/2019.

Institutional Review Board Statement

Not applicable.

Informed Consent Statement

Not applicable.

Data Availability Statement

Not applicable.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflict of interest.
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MDPI and ACS Style

Pereira, S.; Ferreira, L.; Gonçalves, C.; Vasconcelos, V.; Reis, M.; Almeida, J.R. Cyanobacteria as a Source of New Antifouling Sustainable Solutions. Biol. Life Sci. Forum 2022, 14, 37.

AMA Style

Pereira S, Ferreira L, Gonçalves C, Vasconcelos V, Reis M, Almeida JR. Cyanobacteria as a Source of New Antifouling Sustainable Solutions. Biology and Life Sciences Forum. 2022; 14(1):37.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Pereira, Sandra, Leonor Ferreira, Catarina Gonçalves, Vitor Vasconcelos, Mariana Reis, and Joana R. Almeida. 2022. "Cyanobacteria as a Source of New Antifouling Sustainable Solutions" Biology and Life Sciences Forum 14, no. 1: 37.

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