Encyclopedia of Entomology

2008 Edition
| Editors: John L. Capinera

Maggot Therapy

  • Susan V. Gruner
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4020-6359-6_1682
Maggot therapy, or maggot debridement therapy, is the medicinal use (biotherapy) of live fly larvae (maggots) for cleaning non-healing wounds and osteomyelitis (bone infection). Maggots debride, or clean, wounds by eating necrotic (dead) tissue. They secrete therapeutic chemicals such as ammonia and calcium carbonate, which disinfect wounds and promote healing. Only larvae that eat dead tissue (usually calliphorids from the genus Lucilia) can be used for medicinal purposes (Table 1). Obviously they must display no invasive behavior to living tissue.
Maggot Therapy, Table 1

The species of flies used in maggot therapy (adapted from Sherman et al. 2000)

Family

Species

 

Calliphoridae

Calliphora vicina

 
 

Chrysomya rufifacies

 
 

Lucilia caesar

 
 

Lucilia cuprina

 
 

Lucilia illustris

 
 

Lucilia sericata

 
 

Phormia regina

 
 

Protophormia terraenovae

 

Sarcophagidae

Wohlfahrtia nuba

 

Muscidae

Musca domestica

 
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References

  1. Baer WS (1931) The treatment of chronic osteomyelitis with the maggot (larva of the blow fly). Am J Bone Joint Surg 13:438–475Google Scholar
  2. Kerridge A, Sappin-Scott H, Stevens JR (2005) Antibacterial properties of larval secretions of the blowfly, Lucilia sericata. Med Vet Entomol 19:333–337PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Nigam Y, Bexfield A, Thomas S, Ratcliffe NS (2006) Maggot therapy: the science and implication of CAM, Part I – History and bacterial resistance. Evid based Complement Alternat Med 3:303–308PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Sherman RA, Hall MJR, Thomas S (2000) Medicinal maggots: an ancient remedy for some contemporary afflictions. Annu Rev Entomol 45:55–81PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Sherman RA, Pechter EA (1988) Maggot therapy: a review of the therapeutic applications of fly larvae in human medicine, especially for treating osteomyelitis. Med Vet Entomol 2:225–230PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Susan V. Gruner
    • 1
  1. 1.University of FloridaGainesvilleUSA