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Understanding antibiotic resistance
Understanding antibiotic resistance

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7.4 Looking closer to home

Scientists are also bioprospecting closer to home and looking at samples taken from everyday objects and places. A bioprospecting project which recruited thousands of people to help is described in Activity 8.

Activity 8 Citizen Science ‘Swab and Send’ project

Timing: Allow about 10 minutes

First, listen to the following interview with Dr Adam Roberts about the ‘Swab and Send’ project [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)] . Listen from 13:35 to 21:00.

Now answer the following questions. 

  1. What is ‘Swab and Send’?
  2. What sort of samples have the swabs come from?
  3. Have any new antibiotics been identified through this initiative?


  1. It is a crowd-funded Citizen Science project to get members of the public involved in the discovery of new antibiotics.
  2. Anything and everything, including dead bald eagles, workplace objects, faeces and train tickets.
  3. Yes. Twenty candidates have been discovered that can kill multidrug resistant E. coli and the yeast Candida albicans or MRSA.