Maggot excretions/secretions are differentially effective against biofilms of Staphylococcus aureus and Pseudomonas aeruginosa

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Objectives: Lucilia sericata maggots are successfully used for treating chronic wounds. As the healing process in these wounds is complicated by bacteria, particularly when residing in biofilms that protect them from antibiotics and the immune system, we assessed the effects of maggot excretions/secretions (ES) on Staphylococcus aureus and Pseudomonas aeruginosa biofilms, the clinically most relevant species. Methods: We assessed the effects of ES on biofilms using microtitre plate assays, on bacterial viability using in vitro killing and radial diffusion assays, and on quorum sensing systems using specific reporter bacteria. Results: As little as 0.2 μg of ES prevented S. aureus biofilm formation and 2 μg of ES rapidly degraded biofilms. In contrast, ES initially promoted P. aeruginosa biofilm formation, but after 10 h the biofilms collapsed. Degradation of P. aeruginosa biofilms started after 10 h and required 10-fold more ES than S. aureus biofilms. Boiling of ES abrogated their effects on S. aureus, but not on P. aeruginosa, biofilms, indicating that different molecules within ES are responsible for the observed effects. Modulation of biofilms by ES did not involve bacterial killing or effects on quorum sensing systems. Conclusions: Maggot ES are differentially effective against biofilms of S. aureus and P. aeruginosa.


  • Mariena J.A. Van der Plas
  • Gerrolt N. Jukema
  • Sin Wen Wai
  • Heleen C.M. Dogterom-Ballering
  • Ellen I. Lagendijk
  • Co Van Gulpen
  • Jaap T. Van Dissel
  • Guido V. Bloemberg
  • Peter H. Nibbering
Externa organisationer
  • Leiden University Medical Centre
  • VU University Medical Center
  • Leiden University


Sidor (från-till)117-122
Antal sidor6
TidskriftJournal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy
Utgåva nummer1
StatusPublished - 2008 jan
Peer review utfördJa
Externt publiceradJa