Journal Mobile Options
Table of Contents
Vol. 20, No. 2, 2007
Issue release date: March 2007

In vitro Antibacterial Activity of Lucilia sericata Maggot Secretions

Daeschlein G. · Mumcuoglu K.Y. · Assadian O. · Hoffmeister B. · Kramer A.
To view the fulltext, log in and/or choose pay-per-view option

Individual Users: Register with Karger Login Information

Please create your User ID & Password

Contact Information

I have read the Karger Terms and Conditions and agree.

To view the fulltext, please log in

To view the pdf, please log in


Maggots of the green blowfly, Lucilia sericata, are used as an alternative to surgical intervention and long-term antiseptic therapy for the treatment of chronic wounds. The secretions of maggots are known to have antibacterial properties. To quantify the bactericidal effect of secretions from larvae of L. sericata, an in vitro test model based on the modified European quantitative suspension test (EN 1040) was developed, in which a co-culture of maggots and bacteria (Micrococcus luteus,Escherichia coli, methicillin-sensitive Staphylo-coccus aureus) in tryptic soy broth was tested. The numbers of bacterial colonies with and without maggot exposure were compared after 24, 48 and 72 h of exposure. The mean log10 reduction factor (RF) for bacterial elimination per maggot was >4 at all examined times for all tested bacteria. Thus, maggot secretion fulfilled the required definitions of an antiseptic. In addition, the maggots’ ability to ingest bacteria was also evaluated. Maggots contained viable bacteria after 48 h of contact with the respective organisms. These maggots also continued excreting bacteria. Therefore, maggots should be disposed of after use as they must be regarded as medical waste.

Copyright / Drug Dosage

Copyright: All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be translated into other languages, reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, microcopying, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher or, in the case of photocopying, direct payment of a specified fee to the Copyright Clearance Center.
Drug Dosage: The authors and the publisher have exerted every effort to ensure that drug selection and dosage set forth in this text are in accord with current recommendations and practice at the time of publication. However, in view of ongoing research, changes in goverment regulations, and the constant flow of information relating to drug therapy and drug reactions, the reader is urged to check the package insert for each drug for any changes in indications and dosage and for added warnings and precautions. This is particularly important when the recommended agent is a new and/or infrequently employed drug.
Disclaimer: The statements, opinions and data contained in this publication are solely those of the individual authors and contributors and not of the publishers and the editor(s). The appearance of advertisements or/and product references in the publication is not a warranty, endorsement, or approval of the products or services advertised or of their effectiveness, quality or safety. The publisher and the editor(s) disclaim responsibility for any injury to persons or property resulting from any ideas, methods, instructions or products referred to in the content or advertisements.


  1. Baer WS: The treatment of chronic osteomyelitis with the maggot (larva of the blow fly). J Bone Joint Surg 1931;13:438–475.
  2. Livingston SK, Prince LH: The treatment of chronic osteomyelitis with special reference to the use of the maggot active principle. JAMA 1932;98:1143–1149.

    External Resources

  3. McKeever DC: Maggots in treatment of osteomyelitis. J Bone Joint Surg 1933;15:85–93.
  4. Sherman RA, Pechter EA: Maggot therapy: reviews of the therapeutic application of fly larvae in human medicine, especially for treating osteomyelitis. Med Vet Entomol 1988;2:225–230.
  5. Mumcuoglu KY, Ingber A, Gilead L, et al: Maggots therapy for the treatment of intractable wounds. Int J Dermatol 1999;38:623–627.
  6. Sherman RA: Maggot versus conservative therapy for the treatment of pressure ulcers. Wound Repair Regener 2002;10:208–214.
  7. Jones M, Thomas S: Wound cleansing – a therapy revisited. J Tissue Viability 1997;7:119–121.
  8. Prete P: Growth effects of Phaenicia sericata larval extracts on fibroblasts: mechanism for wound healing by maggot therapy. Life Sci 1997;60:505–510.
  9. Fleischmann W, Grassberger M, Sherman R: Maggot Therapy: A Handbook of Maggot-Assisted Wound Healing. Stuttgart, Georg Thieme, 2004.
  10. Weil GC, Simon RJ, Sweadner WR: A biological, bacteriological and clinical study of larval or maggot therapy in the treatment of acute and chronic pyogenic infections. Am J Surg 1933;19:36–48.

    External Resources

  11. Robinson W, Norwood VH: The role of surgical maggots in the disinfection of osteomyelitis and other infected wounds. J Bone Joint Surg 1933;15:409–416.
  12. Simmons SW: The bactericidal properties of excretions of the maggot of Lucilia sericata. Bull Entomol Res 1935;26:559–563.

    External Resources

  13. Robinson W, Norwood VH: Destruction of pyogenic bacteria in the alimentary tract of surgical maggot implanted in infected wounds. J Lab Clin Med 1934;7:581–586.
  14. Mumcuoglu KY, Miller J, Mumcuoglu M, et al: Destruction of bacteria in the digestive tract of the maggot of Lucilia sericata (Diptera: Calliphoridae). J Med Entomol 2001;38:162–166.
  15. Huberman L, Mumcuoglu KY, Gollop N, Galun R: Antibacterial substances excreted by the maggot of the green bottle fly, Lucilia sericata. Sixth International Conference on Biotherapy, Cumhuriyet University, Sivas, Turkey, 2003, pp 27–28.
  16. Bexfield A, Nigam Y, Thomas S, Ratcliffe NA: 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;6:1297–1304.
  17. Kerridge A, Lappin-Scott H, Stevens JR: Antibacterial properties of larval secretions of the blowfly, Lucilia sericata. Med Vet Entomol 2005;19:333–337.
  18. Friedman E, Shaharabany M, Ravin S, et al: Partially purified antibacterial agent from maggots displays a wide range of antimicrobial activity. Third International Conference on Biotherapy, Jerusalem, 1998.
  19. Anonymous: Quantitative suspension test for the evaluation of basic bactericidal activity of chemical disinfectants and antiseptics. Chemical disinfectants and antiseptics – basic bactericidal activity – test method and requirement (phase 1). EN-1040. Delft, Nederlands Normalistatie-Instituut, 1997.
  20. Pitten FA, Werner HP, Kramer A: A standardized test to assess the impact of different organic challenges on the antimicrobial activity of antiseptics. J Hosp Inf 2003;55:108–115.
  21. Bill TJ, Ratliff CR, Donovan AM, et al: Quantitative swab culture versus tissue biopsy: A comparison in chronic wounds. Ost Wound Manag 2001;47:34–37.
  22. Winter GD: A note on wound healing under dressings with special reference to perforated-film dressings. J Invest Dermatol 1965;45:299–302.
  23. Thomas S, Andrews AM, Hay NP, Bourgoise S: The antimicrobial activity of maggot secretions: results of a preliminary study. J Tissue Viability 1999;9:127–132.
  24. Pavillard ER, Wright EA: An antibiotic from maggots. Nature 1957;180:916–917.

Pay-per-View Options
Direct payment This item at the regular price: USD 33.00
Payment from account With a Karger Pay-per-View account (down payment USD 150) you profit from a special rate for this and other single items.
This item at the discounted price: USD 23.00