While maggots are considered one of nature’s grossest animals, they offer wound healing benefits.
For hundreds of years, maggots have been at the core of wound healing. While some people just view these as slimy little parasites, maggots have an excellent track record.
There is a mound of evidence demonstrating that maggots can greatly improve wound healing rates. That is thanks in part to the modified version of human growth hormone called PDGF-BB, which helps with blood vessel regrowth and tissue restructuring. Not only that, but maggots have other benefits to boot, including how they do not interfere with still-living tissue because they prefer necrotic skin. Now these tiny creatures may have another purpose that is essential to proper wound care: combating superbugs.
Maggots and Wound Healing
As KFGO News reported, researchers from the Swansea Maggot Research group are looking into maggots as a potential method for destroying certain species of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. That includes methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). As Today’s Wound Clinic explained, the pronounced uptick in MRSA in recent years has greatly affected wound care. Specifically, it has led to a sharp increase in the number of wound infections while also complicating both the prognosis and treatment of certain injuries.
As part of their ongoing studies, the Swansea team spent months collecting samples from the green bottle fly, or lucilia sericata. What the research collective found is a molecule that has since become known as seraticin, which has previously demonstrated potential to kill off these super bacteria.
According to ScienceDaily, back in 2009, the molecule was found capable of killing off 12 separate strains of MRSA. The only problem is that the molecule is hard to synthesize given the maggots’ size, which is something the Swansea team has tried to address in its research efforts. So far, the Swansea group has been able to collect larger quantities of the molecule by leaving the maggots in sterile water overnight and collecting the samples via filter system.
Speaking to KFGO, lead researcher Dr. Yamni Nigam explained that this is an important step in implementing the molecule in a larger scale. “Our current aim is to extract the secretion and to try and isolate the molecule and identify exactly what it’s made up of,” she said. “Once we know the structure we are planning to synthesize (the molecule) artificially and then test it against known species of even resistant bacteria that we know actual maggot secretions are killing. So that’s a new hope for a novel new antibiotic that we’re hoping to one day find from the maggot secretions.”
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