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

T. Kawabata, H. Mitsui, K. Yokota, K. Ishino, K. Oguma, S. Sano

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

46 Citations (Scopus)


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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)375-381
Number of pages7
JournalMedical and Veterinary Entomology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2010


  • Antibacterial activity
  • Lucilia sericata
  • Maggot debridement therapy
  • Natural infection
  • Pseudomonas aeruginosa
  • Staphylococcus aureus
  • Wound infection

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Parasitology
  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • General Veterinary
  • Insect Science


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