Johan Bengtsson-Palme

Johan Bengtsson-Palme
Effects of antibiotic exposure on invasion, robustness and interactions in microbial communities

Years at WID

2017 - present


Johan Bengtsson-Palme grew up in the university town of Uppsala in eastern Sweden. When he's not stuck at work he spends his time with his wife and their two kids.


  • B.Sc., Biology, University of Gothenburg, Sweden
  • M.Sc., Systems Biology, University of Gothenburg, Sweden.
  • Ph.D., Medicine, University of Gothenburg, Sweden. Supervisors: Prof. Joakim Larsson & Prof. Erik Kristiansson (Chalmers University of Technology)

Research Description

Johan Bengtsson-Palme is doing research in microbiology and microbial ecology. In Prof. Handelsman's lab, Johan is investigating how interactions in microbial communities are affected by antibiotics. His interested in both antibiotic resistance development and more ecological effects, such as colonization ability, invasion ability and robustness to invasion.

More broadly, Johan is studying antibiotic resistance, microbial ecology, effects of pharmaceuticals in the environment, and molecular taxonomy. To a large extent his is utilizing metagenomics and other types of DNA sequencing to shed light on the ecology of microbial communities. He also participates in the development of several bioinformatics tools, including the widely used ITSx and Metaxa software.


  • Centre for Antibiotic Resistance research (CARe) at University of Gothenburg
  • The UNITE database for DNA identification of fungi

Selected Publications

  • Bengtsson-Palme J, Kristiansson E, Larsson DGJ: Environmental factors influencing the development and spread of antibiotic resistance. FEMS Microbiology Reviews, 42, 1, 68–80 (2018). doi: 10.1093/femsre/fux053
  • Bengtsson-Palme J, Larsson DGJ: Antibiotic resistance genes in the environment: prioritizing risks. Nature Reviews Microbiology, 13, 369 (2015). doi: 10.1038/nrmicro3399-c1
  • Bengtsson-Palme J, Boulund F, Fick J, Kristiansson E, Larsson DGJ: Shotgun metagenomics reveals a wide array of antibiotic resistance genes and mobile elements in a polluted lake in India. Frontiers in Microbiology, 5, 648 (2014). doi: 10.3389/fmicb.2014.00648
  • Bengtsson-Palme J, Ryberg M, Hartmann M, Branco S, Wang Z, Godhe A, De Wit P, Sánchez-García M, Ebersberger I, de Souza F, Amend AS, Jumpponen A, Unterseher M, Kristiansson E, Abarenkov K, Bertrand YJK, Sanli K, Eriksson KM, Vik U, Veldre V, Nilsson RH: Improved software detection and extraction of ITS1 and ITS2 from ribosomal ITS sequences of fungi and other eukaryotes for use in environmental sequencing. Methods in Ecology and Evolution, 4, 10, 914–919 (2013). doi: 10.1111/2041-210X.12073
  • Bengtsson-Palme J, Hartmann M, Eriksson KM, Pal C, Thorell K, Larsson DGJ, Nilsson RH: Metaxa2: Improved identification and taxonomic classification of small and large subunit rRNA in metagenomic data. Molecular Ecology Resources, 15, 6, 1403–1414 (2015). doi: 10.1111/1755-0998.12399
  • Pal C, Bengtsson-Palme J, Kristiansson E, Larsson DGJ: The structure and diversity of human, animal and environmental resistomes. Microbiome, 4, 54 (2016). doi: 10.1186/s40168-016-0199-5
  • Bengtsson-Palme J, Larsson DGJ: Concentrations of antibiotics predicted to select for resistant bacteria: Proposed limits for environmental regulation. Environment International, 86, 140–149 (2016). doi: 10.1016/j.envint.2015.10.015
  • Bengtsson-Palme J, Hammarén R, Pal C, Östman M, Björlenius B, Flach C-F, Kristiansson E, Fick J, Tysklind M, Larsson DGJ: Elucidating selection processes for antibiotic resistance in sewage treatment plants using metagenomics. Science of the Total Environment, 572, 697–712 (2016). doi: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2016.06.228