Skip to main content
RISE logo
Hands with microorganisms
Photo: Pixabay

Resistance genes in the hand microbiome

Knowledge of the presence of resistance genes to antibiotics and biocides in microorganisms on the skin is important in order to be able to develop effective and long-term sustainable hygiene products. In the project, methodology for whole genome sequencing suitable for mapping resistance genes was further developed and applied.


There are major socio-economic gains to be made from reducing the spread of disease-causing viruses and microorganisms in the home and public environment. In addition, reducing the spread of infection is a strategic priority area in the WHO's work to limit unnecessary antibiotic use and the development of resistance in society. Effective hygiene products and disinfectants for professional and private use are crucial in this work.

In order to be long-term effective against the spread of infection in society, it is of great importance that repeated use of these products does not harm the natural microbiota present on our skin, as the skin's normal microbiota is an important protection against infections. These products should also not cause resistance selection, as resistance to disinfectants may also give rise to increased resistance to antibiotics.


Given the extensive societal challenges we face globally linked to increased problems with antibiotic and biocide resistance, there is today a great need for broader knowledge regarding the development of resistance. As a result of the rapid development that is now taking place in microbiology and virology in terms of tools for whole-genome sequencing and bioinformatics, there are today great opportunities to build new crucial knowledge and actively work to reduce the spread of resistance in society.


The project further develops and adapts a methodology for whole genome sequencing that is suitable for mapping resistance genes to antibiotics and biocides in microorganisms. This methodology was adapted for studies of the microflora on both hands, surfaces and in complex biological samples. In a study consisting of twelve subjects, the presence of resistance genes in the normal flora of the hands was mapped and quantified before, during and after a long-term use of long-acting disinfectants. 

Culture-based methodology was established and applied for studies of links between biocide resistance and antibiotic resistance, so-called cross-resistance. Specifically, in vitro studies were performed on how skin bacteria's resistance to the biocide benzalkonium chloride can arise, and how the cross-resistance to certain antibiotics then increases. To evaluate the societal relevance of the induced resistance, the most resistant bacteria were completely sequenced and the DNA code was compared with resistance genes identified in hospital samples.


Project name

Resistance genes in the hand microbiome



RISE role in project


Project start




Bo Rydins stiftelse för vetenskaplig forskning

Project members

Supports the UN sustainability goals

3. Good health and well-being
9. Industry, innovation and infrastructure
12. Responsible consumption and production
Charlotta Löfström

Contact person

Charlotta Löfström


+46 10 516 67 30

Read more about Charlotta

Contact Charlotta
This question is for testing whether or not you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.

* Mandatory By submitting the form, RISE will process your personal data.



Infection control

Microorganisms are everywhere around us and even in us. Many of these are completely harmless or even beneficial to us, while others can cause infections that in some cases can have devastating consequences as the Covid-19 pandemi…

Microbiological analysis methods

RISE has a broad and deep expertise in microbiological analysis. We develop and validate microbiological methods throughout the analysis chain from sampling and sample preparation to analysis and data processing to efficiently and…

New DNA-based methods for the skin microbiome

We will develop and validate robust DNA-based methods (qPCR and NGS) to quantify bacteria in the skin's microbiome. The project provides the basis for studies of the skin's microbiome to study, for example, the effect on…
Test & demo

Cleaning Innovation

A test bed with a holistic approach to the efficiency aspects, as well as environmental aspects of cleaning and disinfection.

Time for Sweden to get antibiotic-smart

Acfording to the World Health Organisation, WHO, antibiotic resistance is one of the biggest threats to global health, food security, and development today, capable of affecting anyone, of any age, in any country. Antibiotic-…

The importance of virus control extends far beyond the pandemic

The pandemic Covid-19 has actualized and clarified the importance of knowledge about virus control. RISE is now investing in competence and capacity building in this area in order to meet demands for pandemic and epidemic prepared…

Extraction and purification of RNA, miRNA, DNA and protein

In principle, nucleic acid never appears freely in a sample but must be extracted from cells or tissues and then purified. We adapt the extraction method based on the technical and analytical requirements imposed on the given anal…

Whole genome sequencing for studies of viruses as part of the hand mic

The interaction between different viruses and microorganisms on the skin is complex as the microbiota is built up and maintained. Hygiene products should be designed so that pathogenic microorganisms are removed without affecting …