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时间:2018-06-28 23:18来源:互联网 提供网友:nan   字体: [ ]

The Next 'Wonder Drug' Is ... a Maggot?

From VOA Learning English, this is the Health & Lifestyle report.

The next superhero that saves the world may not be strong, powerful or good-looking.

In fact, that hero may be a wriggling1, squirming faceless creature. It may be a maggot!

Maggots are the soft-bodied, not fully2 developed larvae3 of flies or other insects. Many people feel sick by simply hearing the word “maggot,” let alone seeing them. To them, the larvae are simply, in a word, gross.

Maggots: future environmental superheroes?

This “yuck factor” is not stopping scientists around the world. Many are studying how one of the planet’s grossest creatures could help humankind.

Wired magazine reports that companies are using maggots to eat natural waste. Its story explains that after the maggots clean up waste, they may become useful as animal feed or even bio-fuel.

BioCycle is a business specializing in renewable energy and recycling organic materials. The company’s website notes that black soldier flies are perfect to use for environmental purposes. The flies eat anything and a lot of it. Their larvae are not harmful to crops or other creatures. They live for only a short time, during which they only drink a little water and seem to be mainly concerned with mating.

But destroying waste, feeding animals and fueling vehicles may not be the greatest strength of the lowly maggot.

Maggots may fight diseases that medicine can’t

In laboratory tests, maggots seem able to fight diseases that have become resistant4 to antibiotics6.

For years, doctors used maggots to clear dead tissue from wounds. Medical historians claim that doctors in Napoleon’s army used maggots to do just that. And during World War I, an American doctor, William Baer, took note that wounds with maggots healed better.

But then penicillin7 and other antibiotics came along. So, doctors stopped using maggots. Now, however, some germs have mutated. The resulting “superbugs” are threatening the effectiveness of our most powerful drugs.

Researchers in Wales say maggot secretions8 -- the substances they naturally produce -- may be able to fight germs that have built-up a resistance to antibiotics.

To make things even grosser, these scientists are not interested in all maggots – just the ones that eat dead tissue. Maggots can eat many different things. The University of Swansea researchers, however, studied only maggots that eat dead -- or necrotic -- tissue.

As if maggots eating dead tissue isn’t gross enough, what they secrete10 or spit up could be a wonder drug.

Yamni Nigam is a professor with Swansea University in Wales. She says her team was surprised to learn that the substances that maggots produce are effective against bacteria.

"And to our surprise we found that we had excellent antibacterial activity in certain fractions, in certain samples of maggot secretions. So that's a new hope for a novel new antibiotic5 that we're hoping to one day find from the maggot secretions."

She says the maggots used in this study were clean and free from living organisms. In other words, they were the best maggots on the market!

"The clinical maggot we use which is sterile11, clean, clinical grade can only eat dead tissue. People need to be reassured12 about that."

The researchers take sterile maggots and add water. The maggots produce their secretions in the water. Nigam notes that the maggot secretions are full of molecules13 that can help us heal.

She gets very excited when she talks about maggots.

"They're little factories producing all these molecules; anti-bacterial molecules, anti-fungal molecules, the pro9 wound-healing molecules. They're doing all that, as well as digesting away the dead, necrotic tissue, which again we've known that they do that by secreting14 a series of enzymes15 that they let out of their body, and those enzymes digest all the dead infected flesh away.”

The Swansea University team has named one of these healing molecules. They are calling it Seraticin. If it works, people may not be so grossed out by maggots in the future.


In 2017, Nigam asked a group of British health workers if they would use maggots on a patient. Only 30 percent said they would.

But she is not giving up. She believes so strongly in the healing power of maggots that she launched a “Love a Maggot!” campaign at the university.

And that’s the Health & Lifestyle report. I’m Anna Matteo.

Words in This Story

wriggle16 – v. to twist or move like a worm

squirm – v. to twist about like a worm

gross – adj. very disgusting

yuck factor - phrase Disgusting part of the nature of something; facet17 or tendencies (of a thing, idea, etc.) to produce a reaction of repugnance18 or distaste.

recycling – v. to send (used newspapers, bottles, cans, etc.) to a place where they are made into something new

mutate – v. biology [+ object] : to cause (a gene) to change and create an unusual characteristic in a plant or animal : to cause mutation19 in (a gene)

sample – n. a small amount of something that gives you information about the thing it was taken from

novel – adj. new and not resembling something formerly20 known or used

sterile – adj. clean and free of bacteria and germs

clinical – adj. always used before a noun : relating to or based on work done with real patients : of or relating to the medical treatment that is given to patients in hospitals, clinics, etc.

grade – n. a particular level of quality

anti-fungal – adj. destroying fungi21 or inhibiting22 their growth

digest – v. to change (food that you have eaten) by a biological process into simpler forms that can be used by the body


1 wriggling d9a36b6d679a4708e0599fd231eb9e20     
v.扭动,蠕动,蜿蜒行进( wriggle的现在分词 );(使身体某一部位)扭动;耍滑不做,逃避(应做的事等);蠕蠕
  • The baby was wriggling around on my lap. 婴儿在我大腿上扭来扭去。
  • Something that looks like a gray snake is wriggling out. 有一种看来象是灰蛇的东西蠕动着出来了。 来自辞典例句
2 fully Gfuzd     
  • The doctor asked me to breathe in,then to breathe out fully.医生让我先吸气,然后全部呼出。
  • They soon became fully integrated into the local community.他们很快就完全融入了当地人的圈子。
3 larvae w2CxP     
  • Larvae are parasitic on sheep.幼虫寄生在绵羊的身上。
  • The larvae prey upon small aphids.这种幼虫以小蚜虫为食。
4 resistant 7Wvxh     
  • Many pests are resistant to the insecticide.许多害虫对这种杀虫剂有抵抗力。
  • They imposed their government by force on the resistant population.他们以武力把自己的统治强加在持反抗态度的人民头上。
5 antibiotic KNJzd     
  • The doctor said that I should take some antibiotic.医生说我应该服些用抗生素。
  • Antibiotic can be used against infection.抗菌素可以用来防止感染。
6 antibiotics LzgzQT     
n.(用作复数)抗生素;(用作单数)抗生物质的研究;抗生素,抗菌素( antibiotic的名词复数 )
  • the discovery of antibiotics in the 20th century 20世纪抗生素的发现
  • The doctor gave me a prescription for antibiotics. 医生给我开了抗生素。
7 penicillin sMXxv     
  • I should have asked him for a shot of penicillin.我应当让他给我打一针青霉素的。
  • Penicillin was an extremely significant medical discovery.青霉素是极其重要的医学发现。
8 secretions dfdf2c8f9fa34d69cdb57b5834c6dbea     
n.分泌(物)( secretion的名词复数 )
  • Lysozyme is an enzyme found in egg white, tears, and other secretions. 溶菌酶是存在于卵白、泪和其他分泌物中的一种酶。 来自辞典例句
  • Chest percussion and vibration are used with postural drainage to help dislodge secretions. 在做体位引流时要敲击和振动胸部帮助分泌物松动排出。 来自辞典例句
9 pro tk3zvX     
  • The two debating teams argued the question pro and con.辩论的两组从赞成与反对两方面辩这一问题。
  • Are you pro or con nuclear disarmament?你是赞成还是反对核裁军?
10 secrete hDezG     
  • The pores of your body secrete sweat.身上的毛孔分泌汗液。
  • Squirrels secrete a supply of nuts for winter.松鼠为准备过冬而藏坚果。
11 sterile orNyQ     
  • This top fits over the bottle and keeps the teat sterile.这个盖子严实地盖在奶瓶上,保持奶嘴无菌。
  • The farmers turned the sterile land into high fields.农民们把不毛之地变成了高产田。
12 reassured ff7466d942d18e727fb4d5473e62a235     
adj.使消除疑虑的;使放心的v.再保证,恢复信心( reassure的过去式和过去分词)
  • The captain's confidence during the storm reassured the passengers. 在风暴中船长的信念使旅客们恢复了信心。 来自《现代英汉综合大词典》
  • The doctor reassured the old lady. 医生叫那位老妇人放心。 来自《简明英汉词典》
13 molecules 187c25e49d45ad10b2f266c1fa7a8d49     
分子( molecule的名词复数 )
  • The structure of molecules can be seen under an electron microscope. 分子的结构可在电子显微镜下观察到。
  • Inside the reactor the large molecules are cracked into smaller molecules. 在反应堆里,大分子裂变为小分子。
14 secreting 47e7bdbfbae077baace25c92a8fda97d     
v.(尤指动物或植物器官)分泌( secrete的现在分词 );隐匿,隐藏
  • It is also an endocrine gland secreting at least two important hormones. 它也是一种内分泌腺,至少分泌二种重要的激素。 来自辞典例句
  • And some calcite-secreting organisms also add magnesium to the mix. 有些分泌方解石的生物,会在分泌物中加入镁。 来自互联网
15 enzymes 7881ad8ce9c83424f7874e70266ed2d8     
n. 酶,酵素
  • It was said that washing powders containing enzymes remove stains more efficiently. 据说加酶洗衣粉除污更有效。
  • Among the enzymes which are particularly effective are pepsin, papain. 在酶当中特别有效的是胃朊酶、木瓜酶。
16 wriggle wf4yr     
  • I've got an appointment I can't wriggle out of.我有个推脱不掉的约会。
  • Children wriggle themselves when they are bored.小孩子感到厌烦时就会扭动他们的身体。
17 facet wzXym     
  • He has perfected himself in every facet of his job.他已使自己对工作的各个方面都得心应手。
  • Every facet of college life is fascinating.大学生活的每个方面都令人兴奋。
18 repugnance oBWz5     
  • He fought down a feelings of repugnance.他抑制住了厌恶感。
  • She had a repugnance to the person with whom she spoke.她看不惯这个和她谈话的人。
19 mutation t1PyM     
  • People who have this mutation need less sleep than others.有这种突变的人需要的睡眠比其他人少。
  • So far the discussion has centered entirely around mutation in the strict sense.到目前为止,严格来讲,讨论完全集中于围绕突变问题上。
20 formerly ni3x9     
  • We now enjoy these comforts of which formerly we had only heard.我们现在享受到了过去只是听说过的那些舒适条件。
  • This boat was formerly used on the rivers of China.这船从前航行在中国内河里。
21 fungi 6hRx6     
  • Students practice to apply the study of genetics to multicellular plants and fungi.学生们练习把基因学应用到多细胞植物和真菌中。
  • The lawn was covered with fungi.草地上到处都是蘑菇。
22 inhibiting 11ff588a61bbc2b55de0b4c430fe2824     
  • The high cost of borrowing is inhibiting investment by industry in new equipment. 借款的高成本抑制了企业对新设备的投资。
  • The pesticides affect the nervous system by inhibiting the enzyme cholinesterase. 这类农药抑制胆碱酯酶而影响神经系统。
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