The biology of biofouling diatoms and their role in the development of microbial slimes
Diatoms are a major component of microbial slimes that develop on man-made surfaces placed in the marine environment. Toxic antifouling paints, as well as environmentally friendly, fouling-release coatings, tend to be effective against most fouling organisms, yet fail badly to diatom slimes. Biofouling diatoms have been found to tenaciously adhere to and colonise even the most resistant of artificial surfaces. This review covers the basic biology of fouling marine diatoms, their mechanisms of adhesion and the nature of their adhesives, as well as documenting the various approaches that have been utilised to understand the formation and maintenance of diatom biofouling layers.
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