pp 1-12 | Cite as

Candy and Poisons: Fouling Management with Pharmacophore Coatings

  • Daniel RittschofEmail author
Part of the Advances in Polymer Science book series


This chapter provides a context and perspective to consider novel materials for use in fouling management. Fouling and biofouling are defined and the rationale for existing fouling management is provided. Fouling management in even benign environments is difficult because commercial approaches use broad-spectrum stable biocides with non-target effects on humans, environmental health, and food safety. These historic approaches target death as the only biological endpoint. If novel approaches are to be implemented, biological alternatives to broad-spectrum long-lived biocides must be discovered, designed, and fitted within existing business models, infrastructures, and regulatory frameworks. The title, “Candy and Poisons”, highlights the two major issues for sustainable fouling management. Potent, short-lived toxins and pharmacophores, protected in coatings and chemically and biologically destroyed, are eaten as is candy within hours to days after release. Fouling on roofs as an example of an extreme environment and speculation about the use of conserved biological pathways in fouling management are discussed. Major concerns for all fouling management approaches are humans, environmental health, and food safety. With novel approaches, health and food safety should be addressed at the beginning of the technology development. The most difficult hurdle that a new technology faces is the regulatory framework. Present regulatory structures repress new technology and are slowly reducing options for the highly toxic management approaches. Policy changes that support novel technologies and close loopholes for long-lived toxins are needed to stimulate environmentally appropriate solutions.


Biofouling Conserved pathways Extreme environments Fouling management Novel materials 



This work was partially supported by the grants from the US Office of Naval Research. Although the ideas are mine, I would not have had them without the many collaborators who shaped my thinking through our working relationships and the enjoyment of attempting to figure out how the world works. Thanks to the editors and reviewers, who greatly improved this chapter. Finally, thank you to J. Miller who solved my reference issues and did so much more.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Duke University Marine LaboratoryBeaufortUSA

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