Destruction of bacteria in the digestive tract of the maggot of Lucilia sericata (Diptera: Calliphoridae)

Kosta Y. Mumcuoglu, Jacqueline Miller, Michael Mumcuoglu, Michael Friger, Mark Tarshis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

166 Scopus citations


Green fluorescent protein-producing Escherichia coli were used to investigate the fate of bacteria in the alimentary tract of sterile grown maggots, Lucilia sericata (Meigen), using a laser scanning confocal microscope. A computer program was used to analyze the intensity of the fluorescence and to quantify the number of bacteria. The crop and the anterior midgut were the most heavily infected areas of the intestine. A significant decrease in the amount of bacteria was observed in the posterior midgut. The number of bacteria decreased even more significantly in the anterior hindgut and practically no bacteria were seen in the posterior end, near the anus. The viability of bacteria in the different gut sections was examined. It was shown that 66.7% of the crops, 52.8% of the midguts, 55.6% of the anterior hindguts, and 17.8% of posterior hindguts harbored living bacteria. In conclusion, during their passage through the digestive tract the majority of E. coli was destroyed in the midgut. Most of the remaining bacteria were killed in the hindgut, indicating that the feces were either sterile or contained only small numbers of bacteria.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)161-166
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Medical Entomology
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2001


  • Alimentary canal
  • Antibacterial substances
  • Confocal microscopy
  • Escherichia coli
  • Lucilia sericata
  • Maggot debridement therapy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Parasitology
  • Veterinary (all)
  • Insect Science
  • Infectious Diseases


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