List of Penicillium species
Walzia Sorokin (1871)
PENICILLIUM (/ˌpɛnɪˈsɪliəm/ ) ascomycetous fungi of major
importance in the natural environment as well as food and drug
Some members of the genus produce penicillin , a molecule that is
used as an antibiotic , which kills or stops the growth of certain
kinds of bacteria inside the body. Other species are used in
cheesemaking. According to the Dictionary of the
Fungi (10th edition,
2008), the widespread genus contains over 300 species.
* 1 Taxonomy
* 1.1 Species
* 1.2 Etymology
* 2 Characteristics
* 3 Ecology
* 4 Economic value
* 5 Reproduction
* 6 References
* 7 External links
The genus was first described in the scientific literature by Johann
Heinrich Friedrich Link in his 1809 work Observationes in ordines
plantarum naturales, writing "Penicillium.
Thallus e floccis
caespitosis septatis simplicibus aut ramosis fertilibus erectis apice
penicillatis", where penicillatis referred to "pencil-like" (referring
to a Camel\'s hair pencil brush . Link included three species—P.
candidum , P. expansum , and P. glaucum —all of which produced a
brush-like conidiophore (asexual fruiting structure). The common apple
rot fungus P. expansum was selected as the type species .
In a 1979 monograph , John I. Pitt divided
Penicillium into four
subgenera based on conidiophore morphology and branching pattern:
Aspergilloides, Biverticillium, Furcatum, and Penicillium.
List of Penicillium species Various fungi
Aspergillus species growing in axenic
culture Some penicillium mold on mandarin oranges
Selected species include;
Penicillium bilaiae , which is an agricultural inoculant
Penicillium camemberti , which is used in the production of
Penicillium candidum , which is used in making
Brie and Camembert.
It has been reduced to synonymy with
Penicillium chrysogenum (previously known as
), which produces the antibiotic penicillin
Penicillium digitatum , a plant pathogen
Penicillium echinulatum produces
Penicillium expansum , a plant pathogen
Penicillium funiculosum , a plant pathogen
Penicillium glaucum , which is used in making
Penicillium italicum , a plant pathogen
Penicillium marneffei , a thermally dimorphic species endemic in
Southeast Asia , which presents a threat of systemic infection to AIDS
Penicillium roqueforti , which is used in making
Danish Blue cheese
Danish Blue cheese , and also recently Gorgonzola
Penicillium verrucosum , which produces ochratoxin A
Penicillium viridicatum , which produces ochratoxin
The genus name is derived from the
Latin root penicillum, meaning
"painter's brush", and refers to the chains of conidia that resemble a
Penicillium sp. under bright field microscopy (10 × 100
magnification) with lactophenol cotton blue stain
The thallus (mycelium ) typically consists of a highly branched
network of multinucleate, septate, usually colorless hyphae .
Many-branched conidiophores sprout on the mycelia, bearing
individually constricted conidiospores . The conidiospores are the
main dispersal route of the fungi, and often are green in color.
Sexual reproduction involves the production of ascospores ,
commencing with the fusion of an archegonium and an antheridium , with
sharing of nuclei. The irregularly distributed asci contain eight
unicellular ascospores each.
Penicillium are ubiquitous soil fungi preferring cool and
moderate climates, commonly present wherever organic material is
Saprophytic species of
among the best-known representatives of the
Eurotiales and live mainly
on organic biodegradable substances. Commonly known in America as
molds , they are among the main causes of food spoilage , especially
species of subgenus Penicillium. Many species produce highly toxic
mycotoxins . The ability of these
Penicillium species to grow on seeds
and other stored foods depends on their propensity to thrive in low
humidity and to colonize rapidly by aerial dispersion while the seeds
are sufficiently moist. Some species have a blue color, commonly
growing on old bread and giving it a blue fuzzy texture.
Penicillium species affect the fruits and bulbs of plants,
including P. expansum , apples and pears; P. digitatum , citrus
fruits; and P. allii , garlic. Some species are known to be
pathogenic to animals; P. corylophilum , P. fellutanum , P. implicatum
, P. janthinellum , P. viridicatum , and P. waksmanii are potential
pathogens of mosquitoes . P. marneffei , which causes mortality in
the Vietnamese bamboo rats , has become a common opportunistic
HIV -infected individuals in southeast Asia.
Penicillium species are present in the air and dust of indoor
environments, such as homes and public buildings. The fungus can be
readily transported from the outdoors, and grow indoors using building
material or accumulated soil to obtain nutrients for growth.
Penicillium growth can still occur indoors even if the relative
humidity is low, as long as there is sufficient moisture available on
a given surface. A British study determined that Aspergillus- and
Penicillium-type spores were the most prevalent in the indoor air of
residential properties, and exceeded outdoor levels. Even ceiling
tiles can support the growth of Penicillium—as one study
demonstrated—if the relative humidity is 85% and the moisture
content of the tiles is greater than 2.2%.
Penicillium species cause damage to machinery and the
combustible materials and lubricants used to run and maintain them.
For example, P. chrysogenum , P. steckii , P. notatum , P. cyclopium ,
and P. nalgiovensis affect fuels; P. chrysogenum, P. rubrum , and P.
verrucosum cause damage to oils and lubricants; P. regulosum damages
optical and protective glass.
Core structure of penicillin
Several species of the genus
Penicillium play a central role in the
production of cheese and of various meat products. To be specific,
Penicillium molds are found in
Blue cheese .
Penicillium roqueforti are the molds on
Roquefort , and many other cheeses.
Penicillium nalgiovense is used to
improve the taste of sausages and hams, and to prevent colonization by
other molds and bacteria.
In addition to their importance in the food industry, species of
Aspergillus serve in the production of a number of
biotechnologically produced enzymes and other macromolecules, such as
gluconic, citric, and tartaric acids, as well as several pectinases,
lipase, amylases, cellulases, and proteases. Some
have shown potential for use in bioremediation because of their
ability to break down a variety of xenobiotic compounds . Penicillium
also prevents bacteria from affecting the body.
The genus includes a wide variety of species molds that are the
source molds of major antibiotics .
Penicillin , a drug produced by P.
chrysogenum (formerly P. notatum), was accidentally discovered by
Alexander Fleming in 1929, and found to inhibit the growth of
Gram-positive bacteria (see beta-lactams ). Its potential as an
antibiotic was realized in the late 1930s, and
Howard Florey and Ernst
Boris Chain purified and concentrated the compound. The drug's success
in saving soldiers in World War II who had been dying from infected
wounds resulted in Fleming, Florey and Chain jointly winning the Nobel
Prize in Medicine in 1945.
Griseofulvin is an antifungal drug and a potential chemotherapeutic
agent that was discovered in P. griseofulvum . Additional species
that produce compounds capable of inhibiting the growth of tumor cells
in vitro include: P. pinophilum , P. canescens , and P. glabrum .
Although many eukaryotes are able to reproduce sexually , as much as
20% of fungal species had been thought to reproduce exclusively by
asexual means. However recent studies have revealed that sex occurs
even in some of the supposedly asexual species. For example, sexual
capability was recently shown for the fungus
Penicillium roqueforti ,
used as a starter for blue cheese production. This finding was based,
in part, on evidence for functional mating type (MAT) genes that are
involved in fungal sexual compatibility, and the presence in the
sequenced genome of most of the important genes known to be involved
in meiosis .
Penicillium chrysogenum is of major medical and
historical importance as the original and present-day industrial
source of the antibiotic penicillin. The species was considered
asexual for more than 100 years despite concerted efforts to induce
sexual reproduction. However, in 2013, Bohm et al. finally
demonstrated sexual reproduction in P. chrysogenum.
Penicillium marneffei , an
AIDS -associated pathogen , was also
previously assumed to reproduce exclusively by asexual means. This
assumption was largely based on the highly clonal population structure
of this species. However, recent work has revealed that the genes
required for meiosis are present in P. marneffei. This and other
evidence indicated that mating and genetic recombination does occur in
this species. It was concluded that P. marneffei is sexually
reproducing, but recombination is most likely to occur across
spatially and genetically limited distances in natural populations
resulting in a highly clonal population structure.
These findings with
Penicillium species are consistent with
accumulating evidence from studies of other eukaryotic species that
sex was likely present in the common ancestor of all eukaryotes .
Furthermore, these recent results suggest that sex can be maintained
even when very little genetic variability is produced.
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