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University of Gothenburg
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BIOCIDE: Antibacterial biocides in the water cycle – an integrated approach to assess and manage risks for antibiotic resistance development

Research project funded within the call on Aquatic pollutants by JPI-AMR, JPI-OCEA NS and JPI-WATER with ca 1.7 Million Euro between 2021 and 2024. The project is coordinated by UGOT, Institute of Biomedicine (Joakim Larsson) with local collaborators, and with external partners from Umeå University (Sweden), Institute of Marine Research (Bergen, Norway), Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (Berlin, Germany), Technical University of Denmark (Lyngby, Denmark), University of Bucharest (Bucharest, Romania) and University of South Bohemia (Ceske Budejovice, Czech Republic). The Swedish Research Council VR (Medicine and Health) funds UGOT, and the Swedish Research Council FORMAS funds Umeå University.

The overall aim of BIOCIDE is to determine how antibacterial biocides contribute to the development and spread of antibiotic resistant bacteria in different aquatic/marine ecosystems, and to inform and enable measures that ultimately protects human health and safe water resources for both humans and wildlife. Generated data will include 1) exposure levels in different matrices, 2) concentrations that are likely to co-select for antibiotic resistance and promote horizontal gene transfer, 3) identification of predominant and novel genetic mechanisms for co-selection, as well as 4) a risk assessment. The knowledge created and its impact will reach well beyond the European setting. We will provide means to guide action both at the source (approval), and in other parts of the water cycle. Predicted No Effect Concentrations and new methodology will facilitate possible future inclusion in regulatory systems, in Europe and elsewhere. The maritime sector will receive guidance to improve sustainable transports by a better understanding of potential human health risks associated with the use of antifouling agents. The research has high relevance for all three JPIs and for several themes within the call, particularly those related to risk assessment and management.