Maggot Therapy for Treating Wounds: Microbial Minutes

March 31, 2023

How can maggots be used to treat wounds and fight infection? What’s standing in the way of maggot therapy becoming mainstream?

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ASM presents Microbial Minutes, a video series of trending topics in the microbial sciences.

Chronic and hard-to-heal wounds can have devastating impacts on an individual’s livelihood. What happens when conventional treatment methods fail? Maggot therapy could offer a solution. The practice involves applying medicinal maggots to wounds to promote healing and prevent infection. Though the use of maggots in wound care dates back centuries, the practice has received renewed attention in recent years, in part from the growing threat of antimicrobial resistance. Here, we dive into the history of maggot therapy, its antimicrobial and clinical applications and barriers to its widespread use. Take-away points and resources used in this Microbial Minutes are listed below.

Take-Away Points 

  • Maggots offer several benefits for treating wounds, including wound debridement, promoting healthy tissue growth and disinfection.
  • Medicinal maggots can help control infection by consuming microbes at the wound site and by excreting and secreting antimicrobial compounds. Though scientists have started to characterize the antimicrobial properties of maggots, there is plenty left to uncover.
  • Educating health professionals and patients about the benefits, applications and potential of maggot therapy is key for promoting its use. 

Key Resources

What is Maggot Therapy?

Maggot Therapy in the News

Antimicrobial Functions and Clinical Applications

Barriers to Maggot Therapy Use

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Author: Madeline Barron, Ph.D.

Madeline Barron, Ph.D.
Madeline Barron, Ph.D. is the Science Communications Specialist at ASM. She obtained her Ph.D. from the University of Michigan in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology.