Penicillium - What is it?
200+ species. Ubiquitous, Cosmopolitan, one of the most commonly found molds. Often produces microbial volatile organic compounds (MVOC’s) that give the distinctive heavy, musty odor.
Where does penicillium grow outside?
Often found growing in soil, decaying plant debris, compost piles, and fruit rot.
Where does penicillium grow inside?
Often found growing indoors on water-damaged building materials (chipboard/OSB, plywood, wallpaper, glue) as well as on food items (dried foods, cheeses, fruits, herbs, spices, cereals)
Is this “black mold”?
The term black mold (also “toxic black mold”) is not scientific but is widely used by the media to usually reference Stachybotrys molds.
Health Concerns about Penicillium
Is it a potential allergen?
Some people may experience hay fever, asthma, hypersensitivity pneumonitis: cheese washer’s lung, woodman’s lung, moldy wall hypersensitivity. Due to it’s allergenic capabilities, professional mold remediation is recommended.
Does penicillium present any unique human risks? (as pathogen, opportunist or contaminant)*
Can penicillium produce toxins?**
These include: penicillic acid, peptide nephrotoxin, viomellein, xanthomegin, xanthocillin X, mycophenolic acid, roquefortine C & D, citrinin, penicillin, cyclopiazonic acid, isofumigaclavine A, penitrem A, decumbin, patulin citreoviridin, griseofulvin, verruculogen, ochratoxin, chrysogine, and meleagrin.
Identification of Penicillium
Can penicillium be identified via Air Sampling?
Although indistinguishable from Aspergillus species
Can it be identified via Direct Sampling?
Easily identified if sporulating structures are observed, otherwise may be indestiguishable from Aspergillus species
What are some of its industrial uses?
Used in roquefort and camembert cheese, salami-sausages starter culture; anti-bacterial antimicrobial penicillin, and anti-fungal antimicrobial griseofulvin.
*Heads up – I earn a small commission on sales through Amazon links. This helps cover the expense of running the website (and answering your questions!)