Penicillium (anamorphic genus)

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Penicillium expansum infection of a pear fruit (click on image to enlarge it)
Author(s): H.J. Larsen
Source: Wikimedia Commons

Penicillium Link, 1809

The genus contains more than 300 species which are widely distributed in temperate regions. Several species are important as post harvest pathogens. Some produce mycotoxins. Others are useful in the food industry, e.g. for the production of cheese. In addition, some species produce the antibiotic penicillin.

Morphologically the species resemble those of the genus Aspergillus. For propagation, the species mainly produce asexual conidia which are round and unicellular. During sexual reproduction, small spherical fruiting bodies (cleistothecia) with asci and 8 ascospores each are formed. The name of the genus is derived from the Latin word penicillus, a paint brush, in reference to the arrangement of its conidial chains.

Type species: Penicillium expansum.

For a taxonomic review see Visagie et al., 2014


Currently, the following species have been entered into the system: