COMplex Biofilms and AMR Transmission





Research Project: 2022-03-14 - 2025-03-13
Total sum awarded: €1 388 974

COMBAT represents a multidisciplinary consortium which aims to understand and control AMR emergence and dissemination in complex biofilms. COMBAT will achieve this aim by gaining a better understanding of the nature of complex biofilms and their control in 3 One Health areas: healthcare, domiciliary and veterinary. There is currently limited understanding of the composition of complex biofilms, natural abundance of AMR genes and gene transfer occurrence in these ecological niches. With such a paucity of information, the efficacy of interventions (disinfection) in controlling the emergence and dissemination of AMR cannot be evaluated in situ, whilst evidence to date identified biofilms as a source for AMR that requires targeted countermeasures. By using a newly established small scale complex biofilm model, COMBAT will provide new information on microbial diversity, AMR gene abundance and transfer in complex biofilms of importance to 3 One Health areas. Further COMBAT will provide a robust platform to evaluate disinfectant product interventions designed to deliver a measurable impact in limiting AMR dissemination. In doing so, COMBAT will optimise cost-effective interventions appropriate to minimise the spread of AMR in 3 One health areas. COMBAT is composed of experienced research groups with significant international reputations in the fields of AMR and biocidal products. Industrial, infection control, veterinarian, farmer stakeholders will provide COMBAT with a translational aspect ensuring the outputs are effective and commercially viable.

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  • Jean-Yves Maillard, Cardiff University, United Kingdom (Coordinator)
  • Dirk Bockmühl, Rhein-Waal-University of Applied Sciences, Germany (Partner)
  • Mark Fielder, Kingston University London, United Kingdom (Partner)
  • Noora Perkola, Finnish Environment Institute SYKE, Finland (Partner)
  • Veljo Kisand, University of Tartu, Estonia (Partner)
  • Seamus Fanning, University College Dublin, Ireland (Partner)

Antimicrobial resistant microorganisms are difficult to treat and lead to increased death and treatment costs. Antibiotic resistance is recognised as a critical threat in both human and animal medicine. Addressing this threat can be challenging when bacteria exist in complicated communities called biofilms. Biofilms form naturally and allow bacteria to survive and persist in diverse environments. Surviving bacteria facilitates the spread of antibiotic resistance genes contributing to the spread of antimicrobial resistance. The COMBAT (COMplex Biofilms and AMR Transmission) project will identify interventions that can actually control complex biofilms in three different environments, thereby decreasing the threat of antimicrobial resistance spreading. COMBAT’s approach is based on solid novel laboratory-based biofilm study but also on the application of interventions in the domestic, healthcare and animal environments, providing a direct application to control real “One Health” antibiotic resistance problem.