Tag Archives: imperfect fungi

Penicillium chrysogenum (notatum) or Breadmold

PenicilliumBreadMoldedited

Penicillium chrysogenum (notatum) or Breadmold

Conidiophores of Penicillium chrysogenum

Conidiophores

The generic name Penicillium comes from the form of a paintbrush of the conidiophores of this fungus. It belongs to the division of Ascomycetes. Conidiophores, branched off the hyphae, are producing the asexual spores or conidia.

This fungus, Penicillium chrysogenum, belongs to the imperfect fungi. Scientist are simply incapable of finding the right environmental conditions in order to find a sexual phase in these fungus.

portraitAlexanderFleming discoverer of Penicillin

Alexander Fleming

The antibiotic properties of this fungus were by accident discovered by Alexander Fleming in 1928. When he came back from a short vacation, he saw some of his bacteria cultures infested with fungus. He then discovered, the bacteria in the culture been destroyed. Further tests by him and many other colleagues confirmed the antibiotic properties and he extracted the substance called penicillin.

The specific name “notatum” seemed to be wrong and the name got changed to a specie discovered in 1910, by the name of “chrysogenum”.

Penicillin nowadays is becoming obsolete. Much misuse of antibiotics is rendering bacteria strains, which are immune or resistant to the drug.
In the meantime many derivatives were brought on the market, some narrower focus. See Purdue link

Some other species of the Genus Penicillium are also used to cure some cheeses, like Penicillium roqueforti and P. camamberti  Most of these species are saprophytic.
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