• Antifoulant;
  • Nonivamide;
  • Phaeodactylum tricornutum;
  • Reactive oxygen species


Nonivamide, a synthetic derivate of natural capsaicin, has an effective antifouling activity. However, the poor understanding of the toxicity mechanism limits the application of nonivamide in antifouling paints. The present study investigated the inhibitory effects and toxicity mechanism of nonivamide on Phaeodactylum tricornutum. Under a 1.5 × 105 cells/ml of initial algal density (IAD), the effective concentration causing 50% inhibition at 4- d (4 d-EC50) value of nonivamide was 5.1 mg/L. Reactive oxygen species (ROS) level was significantly increased in nonivamide-treated algae. Algal antioxidants, including catalases (CAT), peroxidases (POD), superoxide dismutases (SOD), and glutathione (GSH), were all stimulated by the ROS burst. The excessive ROS substances led to the loss of algal photosynthetic pigments and also damage to the integrity of the lipid membrane. Furthermore, ROS-related genes, including psbA, psbD, psaB, rbcL, nad1, and cob, were found to be suppressed in the chloroplasts and mitochondria of nonivamide-treated algae, and the concentration of cytoplasmic Ca2+, an important regulator of chloroplast and mitochondrion, was elevated. The present study demonstrates that nonivamide could cause peroxidative damages to P. tricornutum by inducing ROS overproduction, which may be initiated by the suppression of ROS-related genes in algal chloroplasts and mitochondria. Environ. Toxicol. Chem. 2013;32:802–809. © 2013 SETAC