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Thursday, 01 October 2020
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Raw materials & technologies, Applications, Protective & Marine coatings

Potential antifouling substance can cause paler fish

Wednesday, 19 May 2010

The sedative medetomidine has proved effective at inhibiting fouling and is now being trialled by the EU as an ingredient for the antifouling paints of the future.

A photo of turbots Source: Anna Lennquist, University of Gothenburg

A photo of turbots Source: Anna Lennquist, University of Gothenburg

Since TBT was banned worldwide in 2008, the search for environmentally friendly antifouling paints has reached fever pitch. One of the substances on trial is medetomidine, a sedative used in veterinary medicine that has also been shown to prevent barnacle larvae from attaching themselves to vessels. Medetomidine is currently being trialled under the EU’s Biocidal Products Directive as an active agent in antifouling paint. In her thesis, researcher Anna Lennquist from the Department of Zoology at the University of Gothenburg has examined the effects of low concentrations of medetomidine on fish. The thesis covers studies where rainbow trout, Atlantic cod, turbot, three-spined stickleback and Atlantic salmon were treated with medetomidine for periods of 1-54 days. The research shows that the most obvious effect is that medetomidine makes fish paler as it affects the skin cells that contain dark pigment. Another effect noted in several of the studies is that a detoxifying enzyme in the fish’s liver is affected. Other effects noted after treatment with medetomidine are that the fish are slightly less active and have less of an appetite. Blood sugar content and liver size are also thought to be affected.

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