Detection and partial characterisation of two antibacterial factors from the excretions/secretions of the medicinal maggot Lucilia sericata and their activity against methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA)

Microbes Infect. 2004 Nov;6(14):1297-304. doi: 10.1016/j.micinf.2004.08.011.


Maggot therapy is a simple and highly successful method for cleansing infected and necrotic wounds. The use of maggots has become increasingly important in the treatment of non-healing wounds, particularly those infected with the multidrug-resistant pathogen, methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). The increasing challenge concerning the treatment of MRSA infections and the recent finding of vancomycin-resistant strains of MRSA have elicited the search for novel antibacterial compounds and, in particular, investigations into the potent antibacterial mechanism(s) behind maggot therapy. In this study, we report that excretions/secretions (ES) from the blowfly, Lucilia sericata, exhibit potent, thermally stable, protease resistant antibacterial activity against MRSA in vitro. We describe the initial characterisation of two antibacterial factors from native ES of L. sericata. A small, <500 Da factor with significant antibacterial activity against MRSA was partially isolated using ultrafiltration techniques. The potent activity of this factor was comparable to that of native excretions/secretions. A larger, 0.5-3-kDa factor with significant activity against S. aureus was also partially characterised.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / chemistry
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / isolation & purification*
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / pharmacology*
  • Diptera / chemistry*
  • Drug Resistance, Bacterial
  • Hydrogen-Ion Concentration
  • Larva / chemistry
  • Methicillin Resistance
  • Microbial Sensitivity Tests
  • Molecular Weight
  • Staphylococcus aureus / drug effects*
  • Staphylococcus aureus / growth & development


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents