By George Munene
The Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organization (KALRO) through its Emerging Insects Farming Technology arm is currently running trials on how to harness the common green bottle fly (Phoenicia Sericata or Lucillia Seicata), for maggot therapy, chicken, fish, and cattle feed as well as in the decomposition of food waste into organic manure.
10-14mm long, slightly larger than a housefly, the green bottle fly is a member of the blowfly family and is found in most parts of the world.
According to KALRO officials, the fly’s maggot feed contains 60 per cent protein, double that of soya (30%), which is among the best sources of plant-based protein and is the most crucial source of protein in the manufacture of animal feed.
While still at its larval stage, Lucilia sericata, can be bred and used to directly feed chicken and fish. It can also be boiled and mixed with maize germ to make pellets for cattle and other livestock.
Maggots can also decompose food waste materials to make organic manure, ideal for agricultural production.
The fly’s sterilised larvae are currently being used for maggot therapy– the treatment of chronic wounds in patients at Kenyatta National Hospital with no antibiotics or skin grafting applied.
Maggot therapy involves the introduction of live, disinfected maggots into non-healing skin and soft-tissue wounds to clean out the dead tissue within the wound, debridement, and disinfect.
The same treatment method is also being used to heal incurable animal wounds.