Understanding antibiotic resistance
Understanding antibiotic resistance

Start this free course now. Just create an account and sign in. Enrol and complete the course for a free statement of participation or digital badge if available.

Free course

Understanding antibiotic resistance

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.

Take your learning further

Making the decision to study can be a big step, which is why you'll want a trusted University. The Open University has 50 years’ experience delivering flexible learning and 170,000 students are studying with us right now. Take a look at all Open University courses.

If you are new to University-level study, we offer two introductory routes to our qualifications. You could either choose to start with an Access module, or a module which allows you to count your previous learning towards an Open University qualification. Read our guide on Where to take your learning next for more information.

Not ready for formal University study? Then browse over 1000 free courses on OpenLearn and sign up to our newsletter to hear about new free courses as they are released.

Every year, thousands of students decide to study with The Open University. With over 120 qualifications, we’ve got the right course for you.

Request an Open University prospectus371