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Penicillium is a fungus, and is the most abundant mold source in soil.  There are more than 150 species of penicillium.

Penicillium that is more than two-weeks old is bluish in color.  

 Penicillium is a cryophilic fungi, which means it likes the cold, growing best at 34 degrees (the temperature of a refrigerator).  It is xerophilic, which means it can obtain moisture from the air if humidity is at 60% or higher.


Penicillium looks a bit like a Dali-rendering of a tree.  Click the following links for photos and drawings:


    Penicillium used to make penicillin

    Penicillium used to synthesize penicillin

    Penicillium grown on citrus

    Fruiting Penicillium


Penicillium notatum and penicillium chrysogenum are used to make penicillin.  In fact, it is sometimes referred to as "medicinal mold".  

Other varieties, such as penicillium roqueforti are used to ripen cheese, although it can also cause mold in grain crops.

Penicillium fumiculosum is used in antibotics.

Penicillium citrinum is used in laboratories.

Penicillium simplicissium  produces an enzyme that helps crops.

Penicillium italicum and penicillium digitatum can cause mold on citrus fruit.  

Penicillium expansum causes soft rot of apples.

Penicillium viridicatum, penicillium citreonigrum , penicillium citrinum, Penicillium crustosum, penicillium islandicum, and penicillium verrucosum can cause illness when eaten.

 Unchecked penicillium growth can develop mycotoxins.

Some people are allergic to penicillium.

Penicillium Basics

Temperature:  Prefers the cold, refrigerators

Food:  Fruit, bread

Water:  Can take water vapor from the air.  Will not grow if the relative humidity is under 60%.

Potential Allergen:  Yes


Barron, George - Fungi of Eastern Canada

Barron, George - Moulds in Homes and Schools, April 2001

Kunkel, Dennis, Microscopy:  The University of Hawaii

Malloch Lab, University of Toronto

Science Museum of Minnesota

The University of Wisconsin Medical School, Department of Microbiology and Immunology

International Commission on Penicillium and Aspergillus


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