Antibacterial biocides in the water cycle – an integrated approach to assess and manage risks for antibiotic resistance development

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.



antibacterial biocides, antibiotics, metals, antibiotic resistance, co-selection, cross-resistance, water, pollution, antifouling, risk assessment, environmental regulation, metagenomics, analytical chemistry, selection, horizontal gene transfer, human health, bacteria, infectious diseases, DNA


Project Coordinator:
Prof. Joakim Larsson,
Centre for Antibiotic Resistance Research (CARe) at University of Gothenburg, Sweden


Communication & Dissemination Contact:
Associate Professor Kristian Kvint


Partner Institutions:
Institute of Marine Research, contaminants and biohazards – Norway

Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM), Materials and Environment – Germany

Umeå University, Department of Chemistry – Sweden

Technical University of Denmark, Dept. of Environmental Engineering – Denmark

University of Bucharest, Research Institute of the University of Bucharest, Life, Environmental and Earth Sciences Division – Romania

University of South Bohemia in České Budějovice, Faculty of Fisheries and Protection of Waters – Czech Republic

Project Website