Cayenne pepper colour - the new boat bottom colour?

updated: 2018-09-25

The object of this paper is to explore if there is a more environmentally friendly and ecologically sustainable alternative to the copper oxide based marine antifouling paints commonly used today. The study revolves around the question if mixing cayenne pepper, more specifically the molecule capsaicin, with biocide free antifouling paint will enhance the paint’s antifouling properties.

To be able to investigate the influence of cayenne pepper on marine life, especially barnacles, a number of CD shaped plastic discs were mounted on a rack and placed in the ocean. The material came from the project Virtue from Gothenburg University. The discs were pretreated with various combinations, of paints and concentrations of biocides, before they were arranged to a jetty on the west coast of Sweden.

The results of this study show that paint with cayenne pepper in comparison to paint with copper oxide had very similar antifouling properties although the reference discs without any paint surprisingly had the least biomass attached to it. Unfortunately, material was destroyed or went missing during the time the discs were placed in the ocean, which lead to significant implications on the reliability of the results and conclusions.