Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering Faculty Research


Evaluation of Toxicity of Capsaicin and Zosteric Acid and Their Potential Applications as Antifoulants

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Publication Date

Fall 2005


The toxicity of two natural product antifoulants, capsaicin and zosteric acid, was evaluated using the Microtox assay and a static toxicity test. The EC50 values obtained from the Microtox assay for capsaicin and zosteric acid were 11.75 +/- 1.02 and 442 +/- 100 mg/L, respectively. The static toxicity test, conducted with freshwater organisms, yielded capsaicin EC50 values of 5.5 +/- 0.5 and 23 +/- 2.0 mg/L for P. putida and Lake Erie bacteria, respectively. Zosteric acid EC50 values were 167 +/- 3.9 and 375 +/- 10 mg/L for P. putida and Lake Erie bacteria, respectively. Tests with marine organisms resulted in capsaicin EC50 values of 6.9 +/- 0.2 and 15.6 +/- 0.4 mg/L for V. natriegens and V. parahaemolyticus, respectively; whereas zosteric acid EC50 values were 7.4 +/- 0.1 and 18 +/- 0.6 mg/L for V. natriegens and V. parahaemolyticus, respectively. These results indicate that zosteric acid is much less toxic than capsaicin and that both are substantially less toxic than the currently used antifoulants, such as TBT (EC50 < 0.01 ppb). Their effectiveness as natural antifoulants was demonstrated by preliminary attachments studies. As the aqueous antifoulant concentration increased, significant inhibition of bacteria attachment or prevention of biofilm formation was achieved. Hence, both capsaicin and zosteric acid could be attractive alternatives as new antifouling compounds.





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