Previous work has shown that organosilica-based xerogels have the potential to control biofouling. In this study, modifications of chemistry were investigated with respect to their resistance to marine slimes and to settlement of barnacle cyprids. Adhesion force measurements of bovine serum albumin (BSA)-coated atomic force microscopy (AFM) tips to xerogel surfaces prepared from aminopropylsilyl-, fluorocarbonsilyl-, and hydrocarbonsilyl-containing precursors, indicated that adhesion was significantly less on the xerogel surfaces in comparison to a poly(dimethylsiloxane) elastomer (PDMSE) standard. The strength of adhesion of BSA on the xerogels was highest on surfaces with the highest and the lowest critical surface tensions, gamma(C) and surface energies, gamma(S), and duplicated the 'Baier curve'. The attachment to and removal of cells of the diatom Navicula perminuta from a similar series of xerogel surfaces were examined. Initial attachment of cells was comparable on all of the xerogel surfaces, but the percentage removal of attached cells by hydrodynamic shear stress increased with gamma(C) and increased wettability as measured by the static water contact angle, theta(Ws), of the xerogel surfaces. The percentage removal of cells of Navicula was linearly correlated with both properties (R(2) = 0.74 for percentage removal as a function of theta(Ws) and R(2) = 0.69 for percentage removal as a function of gamma(C)). Several of the aminopropylsilyl-containing xerogels showed significantly greater removal of Navicula compared to a PDMSE standard. Cypris larvae of the barnacle B. amphitrite showed preferred settlement on hydrophilic/higher energy surfaces. Settlement was linearly correlated with theta(Ws) (R(2) = 0.84) and gamma(C) (R(2) = 0.84). Hydrophilic xerogels should prove useful as coatings for boats in regions where fouling is dominated by microfouling (protein and diatom slimes).



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This is an electronic version of an article published in Biofouling.

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