Chemical oxidants affect byssus adhesion in the highly invasive fouling mussel Limnoperna fortunei.
Biofouling by the invasive mussel species Limnoperna fortunei has caused severe negative consequences in various freshwater ecosystems, but there is still a lack of effective antifouling strategies for this species, particularly in drinking water treatment systems where many existing strategies cannot be used. Chemical oxidants have been proposed to potentially control fouling mussels by influencing 3,4-dihydroxyphenylalanine oxidation involved in byssus adhesion. To test this potential control strategy, L. fortunei adults were exposed to four oxidants: sodium hypochlorite (NaClO), potassium permanganate (KMnO4), hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) and chloramine T (CAT) at concentrations of 0.5, 1.0, 3.0 and 5.0 mg L-1 for one week. The results showed that low concentrations of KMnO4 stimulated foot protein secretion, which was beneficial to byssus production (number and length). NaClO and H2O2, but not KMnO4 and CAT, significantly inhibited byssus production and reduced breaking force, causing an increased byssus shedding rate. However, only NaClO dissolved byssus and altered the failure location from the byssal thread to adhesive plaque, even when exposed at low concentrations, showing its great impacts on byssus adhesion. Further analysis of polyphenoloxidase activities and gene expression profiles of LfBP-1, LfFP-2 and LfBP-3 revealed that chemical oxidants affected byssus adhesion by altering Dopa oxidation and foot protein gene expressions. This study, therefore, suggests that a low concentration of NaClO can be used as an alternative and environmentally friendly chemical for controlling L. fortunei biofouling by weakening byssus adhesion.