Effects of copper-based antifouling paints on brine shrimp
Context of the study
Antifouling paints based on based on tin (like TBT), are known to have toxic effects on non-target organisms. Today, antifouling paints based on copper are used by fish farming industry, to prevent attachment and growth of organisms on the nets and on fish cages. It's however suspected, that these copper based paints also have negative effects on non-target organisms.
Content of the study
This study investigated the effects of a copper based antifouling paint on the larvae of brine shrimps. Larvae were bred and exposed to different amounts of the antifouling paint. The enzymatic activities of ATPase (an important protein) of the larvae were also examined.
Main results of the study
The paint was found to be very toxic to the brine shrimp larvae. The dose at which 50% of the animals died (=LC50) was 24,6 mm2/ml (expressed as the amount of surface painted per volume of water). The toxic effect is probably due to the constant release of copper ions to the surrounding seawater. Copper might inhibit the activity of ATPase. Inhibition of this protein may disrupt the osmotic regulation of the cell. If the brine shrimp larvae is exposed to large amounts of copper, this leads to its death.