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Cross-sectional project Impact of biocides on the dissemination of antibiotic resistance in Escherichia coli

The BiozAR project collects data on the susceptibility of the zoonotic pathogen E. coli to disinfectants used in hospitals and along the food chain. Isolates of different origin (from healthy individuals, from hospitalized patients, from colonized animals and from contaminated food) will be compared to identify susceptibility patterns putatively related to specific subpopulations. We will investigate whether reduced biocide susceptibility is associated with increased antibiotic resistance. In this way, we will better understand to which extent the application of biocides may select for tolerant E. coli and contribute to the development and dissemination of antibiotic resistance in hospitals and the food web. Molecular biological analyses will show whether sub-inhibitory biocide concentrations can mobilize resistance-coding plasmids in E. coli. Statistical methods for the prediction of antibiotic resistance on the basis of genomic data are already in use. We will investigate whether biocide tolerances can also be predicted by using publicly available whole genome sequencing data and the novel dataset generated within BiozAR.

Our findings may lead to recommendations for improved disinfection strategies in hospitals and food production. The bioinformatics algorithm that will be developed to predict a biocide tolerance phenotype based on genomic data will help to establish a biocide tolerance database supporting the selection of effective disinfectants and antiseptics.


April, 1st 2020 - March, 31st 2022


Szilvia Vincze
030 18412 24707

Sascha Al Dahouk

Ralf Dieckmann