Synthetic and Natural Small Molecule Zebra Mussel Anti-foulants

EPA Grant Number: R829421E03
Title: Synthetic and Natural Small Molecule Zebra Mussel Anti-foulants
Investigators: Hamann, Mark T.
Institution: University of Mississippi Main Campus
EPA Project Officer: Chung, Serena
Project Period: October 1, 2001 through September 30, 2003
Project Amount: $109,732
RFA: EPSCoR (Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research) (2001) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: EPSCoR (The Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research)


The colonization, and consequently the clogging or fouling, of water intakes by zebra mussels (Dreissena polymorpha) is so severe that "The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service forecasts $5 billion in losses over the next decade to manufacturing, power, and municipal water intake facilities that use Great Lakes water." Concern has been raised over the use of copper-based and tin-based compounds as anti-foulants as they are generally toxic to aquatic life. Alternative anti-fouling approaches are needed.


The objectives of this proposal are to: 1) Measure the anti-fouling efficacy of natural and synthetic small molecules with tyrosine-based chemical structures; 2) Determine the ability of these compounds to prevent the formation of DOPA-containing "glue proteins" in zebra mussel (Dreissena polymorpha) adhesive plaques; 3) correlate the anti-fouling and "glue protein" forming properties of these compounds with their tyrosine hydroxylase inhibiting activity. Our hypothesis is that small tyrosine-based molecules will be efficacious zebra mussel anti-foulants.


Our approach will be to test for zebra mussel anti-fouling activity using a zebra mussel reattachment bioassay and to correlate the anti-fouling efficacy of small tyrosine-derived molecules with their ability to both inhibit tyrosine hydroxylase activity and to prevent the formation of DOPA-containing glue proteins.

Expected Results:

The expected results are that small tyrosine-based molecules from synthetic and natural sources will be efficacious zebra mussel anti-foulants. In addition, we anticipate a positive correlation between anti-foulant properties and the ability to inhibit both the formation of DOPA and tyrosine hydroxylase activity. This research on the potential molecular mechanisms of zebra mussel anti-fouling agents should help to usher in a new generation of zebra mussel anti-foulants, and it may help to explain the general biology of anti-foulant strategies utilized by a wide range of aquatic species. Understanding the principles of naturally-occurring anti-fouling strategies may provide highly specific and environmentally-friendly ways of combating zebra mussel infestations.

Publications and Presentations:

Publications have been submitted on this project: View all 2 publications for this project

Journal Articles:

Journal Articles have been submitted on this project: View all 1 journal articles for this project

Supplemental Keywords:

aquatic science, biology, central, zoology, industry, biofouling, environment-friendly., RFA, Scientific Discipline, Ecosystem Protection/Environmental Exposure & Risk, Ecology, exploratory research environmental biology, Environmental Chemistry, Ecosystem/Assessment/Indicators, Ecosystem Protection, Geochemistry, Fate & Transport, Ecology and Ecosystems, ecological effects, fate and transport, chemical ecology, zebra mussel anti-foulants, biofoulfing, ecosystem assessment, aquatic habitat, ecosystem management, chemical kinetics, aquatic ecosystems, bioassay, aquatic ecology

Progress and Final Reports:

  • 2002 Progress Report
  • Final