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The first green, non-toxic antifouling agent for sealants, coatings and paints to transform the construction and marine industries

Project description

A healthy alternative for antifouling paints

Most antifouling bottom paints contain neurotoxins that can have destructive effects on human health and the environment. Unfortunately, even though they pose numerous hazards to health, they are widely used as antifouling agents by many industries due to lack of an alternative. The EU-funded ZABIO project is behind the development of a cell-based manufacturing system for renewable production of sulfated compounds. The bio-based antifouling agent zosteric acid (ZA-bio) is an ecologically friendly, safe antifouling product that is expected to emerge as a fully competitive choice to replace toxic, chemical paints. The project will bring a new product to the market and help in reaching the EU environmental goals.


Across many huge industries, like construction, marine and agriculture, toxic biocides are used as antifouling agents to prevent micro- and macro-organism damaging surfaces. However such antifouling agents pose large environmental and societal burdens as they pollute the environment, harm ecosystems, are produced by fossil-based chemical synthesis or heavy metal extraction, and are hazardous to the health of workers, consumers and the public. Increased regulations and legislations regarding banning and lowering use of toxic antifouling agents is pushing industries to seek for green alternatives. However, no safe, eco-friendly and cost-competitive antifouling agents are currently available that meet the functional requirements to prevent attachment of organisms…until now. Cysbio have developed a proprietary cell-based manufacturing system for renewable production of sulfated compounds, of interest is the bio-based antifouling agent zosteric acid (ZA-bio). The team have leveraged advanced metabolic and enzyme engineering to optimize yields of ZA-bio, creating a cell factory system that can be upscaled to meet substantial chemical company demands. Cysbio enables a green and safe antifouling agent that is commercially viable for the first time, as ZA-bio is cost-competitive with existing toxic heavy metal and synthetic chemical alternatives. The ZABIO consortium consists a non-profit biological production upscaling manufacturer (Bio Base Europe Pilot Plant) and large multinational chemical and consumer goods company (Henkel) to fulfil the value chain and accelerate market entry of ZA-bio integrated products into the construction industry within two years (Q3 2022). As a result of this project ZA-bio will be commercially available as a chemical compound (sales by Cysbio) and initial contracts with Henkel will facilitate market growth by introduction of ZA-bio based sanitary sealants and façade coatings. The two year project will address EU health and environmental goals.


Net EU contribution
€ 1 225 807,45
2970 Horsholm

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The organization defined itself as SME (small and medium-sized enterprise) at the time the Grant Agreement was signed.

Danmark Hovedstaden Nordsjælland
Activity type
Private for-profit entities (excluding Higher or Secondary Education Establishments)
Total cost
€ 1 751 153,50

Participants (4)