Marine biofouling is undesirable growth on submerged substances, which causes a major problem for maritime industries. Antifouling paints containing toxic compounds such as copper are used to prevent marine biofouling. However, bacteria and diatoms are usually found in biofilms developed on such paints. In this study, plastic panels painted with a copper-based self-polishing antifouling paint were exposed to biofouling for 6 months in the Marina Bandar Rowdha, Sea of Oman. Clean panels were used as a control substratum. Marine filamentous fungi from protected and unprotected substrate were isolated on a potato dextrose agar. Pure isolates were identified using sequences of the ITS region of rDNA. Six fungal isolates (Alternaria sp., Aspergillus niger, A. terreus, A. tubingensis, Cladosporium halotolerans, and C. omanense) were obtained from the antifouling paint. Four isolates (Aspergillus pseudodeflectus, C. omanense, and Parengyodontium album) were isolated from clean panels and nylon ropes. This is the first evidence of the presence of marine fungi on antifouling paints. In comparison with isolates from the unprotected substrate, fungi from the antifouling paint were highly resistant to copper, which suggests that filamentous fungi can grow on marine antifouling paints.
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