Long-term microfouling on commercial biocidal fouling control coatings

The current study investigated the microbial community composition of the biofilms that developed on 11 commercial biocidal coatings, including examples of the three main historic types, namely self-polishing copolymer (SPC), self-polishing hybrid (SPH) and controlled depletion polymer (CDP), after immersion in the sea for one year. The total wet weight of the biofilm and the total bacterial density were significantly influenced by all coatings. Pyrosequencing of 16S rRNA genes revealed distinct bacterial community structures on the different types of coatings. Flavobacteria accounted for the dissimilarity between communities developed on the control and SPC (16%) and the control and SPH coatings (17%), while Alphaproteobacteria contributed to 14% of the dissimilarity between the control and CDP coatings. The lowest number of operational taxonomic units was found on Intersmooth 100, while the lowest biomass and density of bacteria was detected on other SPC coatings. The experiments demonstrated that the nature and quantity of biofilm present differed from coating to coating with clear differences between copper-free and copper-based biocidal coatings.