ASTRID - Accompagnement spécifique des travaux de recherches et d’innovation défense

Enzymatic Coatings Inhibiting Fouling And Corrosion – RESSAC

Submission summary

Biofouling and microbial corrosion are two physico-chemical naturally occuring processes that affect ship hulls, pipes, heat exchangers and underwater harbour infrastructures. The economic impact of these two phenomenons is estimated around tens of billions of euros every year for both civilian and military infrastructures. The existing techniques to fight against fouling and corrosion are not satisfactory as they are poorly efficient and/or toxic for the environment. Several alternatives, less toxic, have been appearing in the past few years. Among them, the use of enzymes seems very promising. For instance, enzymes that directly degrade biofilm or that degrade bacteria responsible for biofilm formation have been used to decrease biofouling and microbial corrosion. Nevertheless, limited enzyme stability has considerably hindered the use of enzymes beyond the laboratory scale. To circumvent these limitations, Pr. Eric Chabrière's team working at URMITE laboratory in the Marseille IHU investigated microorganisms living in extreme environments such as Mount Vesuvius hot springs to identify robust enzymes. SsoPox lactonase was thereby isolated from a hyperthermophilic archaea. SsoPox harbours outstanding properties such as resistance to solvent and detergent exposure as well as resistance to heating conferring important assets for biotechnological applications. Furthermore this enzyme can be stored while retaining its activity on long-term periods. The team showed that the lactonase prevents communication between bacteria that are involved in biofilm formation. The ability of the enzyme to inhibit biofilm formation thereby reducing biofouling and corrosion was put forward.
Based on these proofs of concept, the project presented here will aim to set up enzyme based formulations to develop antifouling (AF) and anticorrosion paints or coatings. The use of the enzyme is of prime interest as it acts by preventing bacterial communication without killing bacteria. The enzyme also presents a very limited toxicity unlike other anti-bacterial agents classically used in AF paints such as copper. URMITE and MAPIEM, a laboratory specialised in AF coating formulations from Toulon University, have decided to collaborate to set up a technological breakthrough that would be both efficient and environmentally friendly. An experimental approach to determine how the enzyme impacts microbial communities in vitro and in situ will lead to a better understanding of the lactonase mode of action and consequently to adapt formulations for a larger scale evaluation campaign.

Project coordinator

Monsieur Eric Chabriere (Unité de Recherche sur les Maladies Infectieuses et Tropicales Emergentes)

The author of this summary is the project coordinator, who is responsible for the content of this summary. The ANR declines any responsibility as for its contents.


URMITE Unité de Recherche sur les Maladies Infectieuses et Tropicales Emergentes

Help of the ANR 298,693 euros
Beginning and duration of the scientific project: December 2017 - 24 Months

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