Atlas of foodborne infections
transmitted by contaminated food and water

Atlas of Patogens Contents Information sources Glossary Administration



Hard Cheeses
Soft Cheeses
Fruits and Vegetables
Meat and Meat Products


Foodborne Disease:
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Penicillium mycotoxin - ochratoxin A, citrinin and patulin can be produced by Penicillium moulds (food poisoning).

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Penicillium is a genus of ascomycetous fungi of major importance in the natural environment as well as food and drug production. It produces penicillin, a molecule that is used as an antibiotic, which kills or stops the growth of certain kinds of bacteria inside the body.
Species of Penicillium are ubiquitous soil fungi preferring cool and moderate climates, commonly present wherever organic material is available. Saprophytic species of Penicillium and Aspergillus are among the best-known representatives of the Eurotiales and live mainly on organic biodegradable substances. They are commonly known as moulds and are among the main causes of food spoilage. Many species produce highly toxic mycotoxins. Some species have a blue color, commonly growing on old bread and giving it a blue fuzzy texture.
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 camemberti and Penicillium roqueforti are the molds on Camembert, Brie, Roquefort, and many other cheeses. Penicillium nalgiovense is used to improve the taste of sausages and hams, and to prevent colonization by other moulds and bacteria. In addition to their importance in the food industry, species of Penicillium and Aspergillus serve in the production of a number of biotechnologally produced enzymes and other macromolecules, such as gluconic, citric, and tartaric acids, as well as several pectinases, lipase, amylases, cellulases, and proteases. It is important to note that they are the source of major antibiotics, in particular, penicillin and griseofulvin.
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Read more: MYCOTOXINSUntitled document

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1. Extensive mould (Penicillium spp) development on pre- packed Dutch Cheddar cheese. The illustration shows the restriction of development of aerial mycelium by the overwrapping film.

 1. Rozsáhlá plíse? (


Extensive mould on Cheddar cheese
Source: 1.
An example of mould Penicillium sp.
Source: 2.
Spoilage of fresh sausage
Source: 3.

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