Induction of antibacterial activity in larvae of the blowfly Lucilia sericata by an infected environment

Med Vet Entomol. 2010 Dec;24(4):375-81. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2915.2010.00902.x. Epub 2010 Oct 14.


Maggot debridement therapy (MDT) is a method for the treatment of intractable, infected and necrotic wounds. In MDT, sterile larvae of Lucilia sericata Meigen (Diptera: Calliphoridae) are applied to infected wounds, where they exert antibacterial effects. Once the larvae are placed in the wound, they are no longer germ-free. This study analysed the influence of infected environments on larval antibacterial activities. Sterile larvae were mixed in a test tube containing a bacterial suspension of Staphylococcus aureus or Pseudomonas aeruginosa, transferred to liver puree agar, and incubated at 25 °C for set periods. To collect the larval extracts, the incubated larvae were transferred to a test tube containing phosphate buffered saline (PBS), cut into multiple pieces with scissors, and centrifuged. The supernatant was used to test antibacterial activities. The results showed that infected larvae had better antibacterial capacities than sterile larvae. Antibacterial activities were induced by pretreatment with a single bacterial species, S. aureus or P. aeruginosa, within 24 h and 12 h, respectively, and disappeared after 36 h. The activities were effective against S. aureus, but not against P. aeruginosa. This natural infection model is very similar to the clinical wound context in MDT and will be a powerful tool with which to study the antibacterial activities of L. sericata larvae in MDT.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / metabolism*
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / pharmacology*
  • Diptera / chemistry*
  • Diptera / metabolism
  • Diptera / microbiology*
  • Environment*
  • Humans
  • Larva
  • Pseudomonas aeruginosa / drug effects
  • Pseudomonas aeruginosa / metabolism
  • Staphylococcus aureus / drug effects*
  • Staphylococcus aureus / growth & development
  • Staphylococcus aureus / metabolism
  • Time Factors
  • Wound Infection / microbiology


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents