Investigation of antimicrobial effects of treated Lucilia sericata larvae extract on bacteria

  • Maryam Kaihanfar Department of Biology, Faculty of Sciences, Hakim Sabzevari University, Sabzevar, Iran; Department of Biology, Faculty of Sciences, University of Guilan, Rasht, Iran
  • Madjid Momeni-Moghaddam Department of Biology, Faculty of Sciences, Hakim Sabzevari University, Sabzevar, Iran
  • Mohammad Javad Mehdipour Moghaddam Department of Biology, Faculty of Sciences, University of Guilan, Rasht, Iran
  • Toktam Hajar Department of Biology, Faculty of Sciences, Hakim Sabzevari University, Sabzevar, Iran
  • Vahab Dast Pak Pharmaceutical Technology Development Center, Jundishapur University of Medical Sciences, Ahvaz, Iran
  • Jalal Omrani Bidi Department of Biology, Faculty of Sciences, Hakim Sabzevari University, Sabzevar, Iran
Keywords: Larval therapy, Luciliasericata, Wound healing, Bacterial infection


Background and Objectives: Larval therapy refers to the use of Lucilia sericata larvae on chronic wounds, which is a successful method of chronic wounds treatment. The secretions of these larvae contain antibacterial compounds and lead to death or inhibition of bacterial growth. Materials and Methods: In this study, we investigated the antibacterial effects of Lucilia sericata larvae secretions which were in sterilized and multi antibiotic-resistant bacteria-treated forms on Gram-positive Bacillus subtilis bacteria and Gram-negative Escherichia coli bacteria. In the following, we evaluated changes in gene expression of lucifensin and attacin during treatment with multi antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Investigation of the antibacterial effect was carried out using optical absorption and antibiotic disk diffusion in order to study the expression of the aforementioned genes. Results: The results of this study showed that E. coli-treated larvae were able to inhibit the growth of E. coli and secretions of B. subtilis-treated larvae and were also able to inhibit the growth of B. subtilis. Gene expression of antibacterial peptides in multi antibiotic-resistant bacteria-treated larvae was increased in comparison to non-treated larvae.Conclusion: Due to the significant antibacterial potency of bacteria-treated larvae secretions, the secretions can be a suitable candidate as a drug against antibiotic resistant bacteria, but additional tests are required. Since the antimicrobial peptides of insects have not yet produced any resistance in human pathogenic bacteria, they can be considered as a promising strategy for dealing with resistant infections.


Baum CL, Arpey CJ. Normal cutaneous wound healing: clinical correlation with cellular and molecular events. Dermatologic surgery. 2005;31(6):674-86.

Ousey K, McIntosh C. Lower Extremity Wounds: A Problem-Based Approach: John Wiley & Sons; 2008.

Fletcher TE, Hutley E, Adcock C, Martin N, Wilson D. Deployed antimicrobial stewardship: an audit of antimicrobial use at Role 3. Journal of the Royal Army Medical Corps. 2013;159(3):237-9.

Valachová I, Bohová J, Pálošová Z, Takáč P, Kozánek M, Majtán J. Expression of lucifensin in Lucilia sericata medicinal maggots in infected environments. Cell and tissue research. 2013;353(1):165-71.

Dallavecchia DL, da Silva Filho RG, Aguiar VM. Sterilization of Chrysomya putoria (Insecta: Diptera: Calliphoridae) eggs for use in biotherapy. Journal of Insect Science. 2014;14(1).

Wilson M, Nigam Y, Jung W, Knight J, Pritchard D. The impacts of larval density and protease inhibition on feeding in medicinal larvae of the greenbottle fly Lucilia sericata. Medical and veterinary entomology. 2016;30(1):1-7.

Hoffmann JA, Hetru C. Insect defensins: inducible antibacterial peptides. Immunology today. 1992;13(10):411-5.

Nygaard MKE, Andersen AS, Kristensen H-H, Krogfelt KA, Fojan P, Wimmer R. The insect defensin lucifensin from Lucilia sericata. Journal of biomolecular NMR. 2012;52(3):277-82.

Čeřovský V, Žďárek J, Fučík V, Monincová L, Voburka Z, Bém R. Lucifensin, the long-sought antimicrobial factor of medicinal maggots of the blowfly Lucilia sericata. Cellular and Molecular Life Sciences. 2010;67(3):455-66.

Čeřovský V, Slaninová J, Fučík V, Monincová L, Bednárová L, Maloň P, et al. Lucifensin, a novel insect defensin of medicinal maggots: synthesis and structural study. ChemBioChem. 2011;12(9):1352-61.

Carlsson A, Engström P, Palva ET, Bennich H. Attacin, an antibacterial protein from Hyalophora cecropia, inhibits synthesis of outer membrane proteins in Escherichia coli by interfering with omp gene transcription. Infection and Immunity. 1991;59(9):3040-5.

Beasley W, Hirst G. Making a meal of MRSA—the role of biosurgery in hospital-acquired infection. Journal of hospital infection. 2004;56(1):6-9.

Wollina U, Liebold K, Schmidt WD, Hartmann M, Fassler D. Biosurgery supports granulation and debridement in chronic wounds–clinical data and remittance spectroscopy measurement. International journal of dermatology. 2002;41(10):635-9.

Kerridge A, Lappin‐Scott H, Stevens J. Antibacterial properties of larval secretions of the blowfly, Lucilia sericata. Medical and veterinary entomology. 2005;19(3):333-7.

Barnes KM, Dixon RA, Gennard DE. The antibacterial potency of the medicinal maggot, Lucilia sericata (Meigen): variation in laboratory evaluation. Journal of microbiological methods. 2010;82(3):234-7.

Valachova I, Prochazka E, Bohova J, Novak P, Takac P, Majtan J. Antibacterial properties of lucifensin in Lucilia sericata maggots after septic injury. Asian Pacific journal of tropical biomedicine. 2014;4(5):358-61.

Arora S, Baptista C, Lim CS. Maggot metabolites and their combinatory effects with antibiotic on Staphylococcus aureus. Annals of clinical microbiology and antimicrobials. 2011;10(1):6.

Steenvoorde P, Jukema G. The antimicrobial activity of maggots: in-vivo results. Journal of tissue viability. 2004;14(3):97-101.

Lazarus GS, Cooper DM, Knighton DR, Margolis DJ, Pecoraro RE, Rodeheaver G, et al. Definitions and guidelines for assessment of wounds and evaluation of healing. Archives of dermatology. 1994;130(4):489-93.

Baumann A, Lehmann R, Beckert A, Vilcinskas A, Franta Z. Selection and evaluation of tissue specific reference genes in Lucilia sericata during an immune challenge. PloS one. 2015;10(8):e0135093.

Pöppel A-K, Vogel H, Wiesner J, Vilcinskas A. Antimicrobial peptides expressed in medicinal maggots of the blow fly Lucilia sericata show combinatorial activity against bacteria. Antimicrobial agents and chemotherapy. 2015;59(5):2508-14.

Courtenay M, Church J, Ryan T. Larva therapy in wound management. Journal of the royal society of medicine. 2000;93(2):72-4.

How to Cite
Kaihanfar M, Momeni-Moghaddam M, Mehdipour Moghaddam MJ, Hajar T, Dast Pak V, Omrani Bidi J. Investigation of antimicrobial effects of treated Lucilia sericata larvae extract on bacteria. Iran J Microbiol. 10(6):409-16.
Original Article(s)