We use different antibacterial biocides in day to day life. Antibacterial biocides are present in disinfectants, cosmetic products, and mouth washes as well antifouling paints. These antibacterial biocides end up in wastewater and eventually in the aquatic environments like rivers, lakes and sea. These biocides are known to promote antibiotic resistance in bacteria and hence risks involved with presence of such biocides in the environment with respect to development and spread of antibiotic resistance need to be assessed. Our aim is to determine how and to what extent antibacterial biocides contribute to the development and spread of antibiotic resistant bacteria in different freshwater/marine ecosystems, and to inform and enable measures that ultimately protect human health and provide safe water resources for all. In the project we will design chemical assays for quantification of different biocides, define concentrations of different biocides that can promote antibiotic resistance, identify predominant and novel genetic mechanisms for co-selection of antibiotic resistance, uncover the incidence and mechanisms of antibiotic resistance driven by metal-based antifouling agents used in international maritime traffic and marine aquaculture and produce an evaluation scheme in collaboration with relevant authorities on how resistance risks formally could be incorporated in existing regulatory framework. 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.
The emergence and global dissemination of antibiotic resistant bacteria has developed into a severe threat to public health. Not only antibiotics but also antibacterial biocides (i.e., chemicals with antibacterial properties that are not used for treating infections) can drive resistance development vai co-selection. These include metals and numerous organic biocides used as disinfectants in health care, as antifouling agents, as preservatives, or as antibacterial agents in household products. In addition to their specific sites of applications, biocides are widely disseminated in the environment, particularly via wastewater streams, into waterways and eventually oceans. 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. 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.