A NEW GENERATIONS ANTIFOULING
Knowledge of the biology behind barnacle behaviour and settling is one of the resources used to identify Medetomidine (trade name Selektope®) as an antifouling substance.
How can Selektope be so effective at very low concentrations? The answer is its specificity, by being a molecule that modulates a key event in the barnacle life cycle.
In contrast to being toxic, Selektope stimulates a specific protein on the cell surface, changing the larvae’s behaviour from searching for a surface to settle on, to a swimming behaviour. This makes the barnacle larvae unable to attach to a surface painted with Selektope and instead forcing it to swim away. The effect is reversible and the larvae will regain its normal behaviour away from the painted surface.