Stay clean: direct steam exposure to manage biofouling risks

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    Biofouling by marine organisms can result in a variety of negative environmental and economic consequences, with decontamination procedures remaining problematic, costly and labour-intensive. Here, we examined the efficacy of direct steam exposure to induce mortality of selected biofouling species: Mytilus edulis; Magallana gigas; Semibalanus balanoides; Fucus vesiculosus; and an Ulva sp. Total mortality occurred at 60-sec of steam exposure for M. edulis and juvenile M. gigas, at 30-sec for S. balanoides, while 300-sec was required for adult M. gigas. Application of steam reduced the biomass of F. vesiculosus and significantly reduced Ulva sp. biomass, with complete degradation being observed for Ulva sp. following 120-sec of exposure. Accordingly, it appears that steam exposure can cause mortality of biofouling organisms through thermal shock. Although preliminary, our novel and promising results suggest that steam applications could potentially be used to decontaminate niche areas and equipment.


    • Stay clean: direct steam exposure to manage biofouling risks

      Rights statement: Copyright 2019 Elsevier. This manuscript is distributed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs License (, which permits distribution and reproduction for non-commercial purposes, provided the author and source are cited.

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      Embargo ends: 06/04/2020


    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)465-469
    JournalMarine Pollution Bulletin
    Journal publication date01 May 2019
    Early online date06 Apr 2019
    Publication statusPublished - 01 May 2019

    ID: 167210330