Science Questions

Sun, 13th Nov 2005

Part of the show Parasites, Hookworms and Allergies


Peter in Suffolk asked:

How can maggots be used in health care and experiments?


I'm glad you asked that question Peter because my lab is also looking at the effects of maggots in wounds, and we've identified a number of enzymes that maggots use to digest dead and dying tissue to kill bacteria. The same enzymes promote tissue regeneration. So in fact, maggots are actually very good tissue engineers and repair tissues through their secretions. Maggots only eat dead tissue because it's already digested, and they only stay in the wound for three days. The flies then fly off. The latest development is to put the maggots into a nylon tea bag, rather than have them 'free range'.


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