By: - Updated: August 19, 2018


With over 200 species, the Penicillium genus is one of the most common fungi found worldwide. Look for it outdoors in soil, decaying plant debris, compost, grains, and rotting fruit. Indoors, it usually grows on wallpaper, wallpaper glue, carpet, paint, fabrics, house dust, and water-damaged buildings.

Penicillium colonies range in colour from blue-green to white, yellow, and pink with a velvety to powdery texture. They grow rapidly and release a strong musty odour.

Penicillium is a common allergen, triggering allergies such as hypersensitivity pneumonitis and hay fever. It also triggers asthma. While Penicillium is typically non-pathogenic, there are a few exceptions. Some Penicillium species are capable of producing microbial volatile organic compounds (MVOCs) and toxins that can be harmful to human health especially upon long-term exposure.

Who discovered Penicillium?

Penicillium was discovered in 1928 by Dr. Alexander Fleming who was a bacteriologist at St. Mary’s Hospital in London. According to Dr Fleming, based on his findings after examining some colonies of the Straphylococcus aureus, he found out that a mold known as Penicillium notatum has spoiled his Petri dishes.

This was after Dr. Flemings has examined his dishes using a microscope to discover that, the identified mold prevented Staphylococci’s normal growth. In addition, he discovered that, there was some factor present in penicillium mold which apart from inhibiting bacteria growth, might also be used to combat infectious diseases.

In March, 1942, fourteen years later after the discovery of Penicillium, Anne Miller become the first patient to be treated with Penicillium successfully after she miscarried and developed an infections which lead to blood poisoning that almost took her life at New Haven Hospital, Connecticut.

Initial, there were no specified medication for bacterial infections and many people suffered from blood poisoning. Penicillium. Despite the fact that, Dr. Alexander was the first person to suggest that the Penicillium mold must have secreted an antibacterial substance as well as to concentrate the active-substance, penicillin in 1928. A lot of research was conducted during the next 12-years where; he grew and also distributed the original mold.

Though he wasn’t the first person to use its Penicillium properties in medicine, there were other people involved in the Penicillin mass production and they include; Ernst Chain, Edward Abraham, Howard Florey and Norman Heatley,

Penicillin was introduced as an antibiotic in the 1940s and since then, it has been recognized to be one of the greatest-advances when it comes to therapeutic medicine. However, the discovery of penicillin as well as the initial recognition of Penicillium’s therapeutic potential happened in the United Kingdom.

Nevertheless, the United-States played a significant role in the development of large scale production of Penicillium due to World War II hence making a life-saving substance that was limited in supply into available medicine widely.

Different Penicillium species

There are more than 200 species of Penicillium. They are commonly referred to as either the blue or green molds due to the fact that they produce many quantities of bluish, greenish or rather yellowish spores that gives them their aforementioned characteristic colours.

The most common species of Penicillium include: Penicillium chrysogenum, Penicillium purpurogenum, Penicillium janthinellum and Penicillium marneffei. Basically, the identification to these species-level is based on microscopic features and macroscopic morphology.

Where can Penicillium be found?

Penicillium can be found anywhere starting from air, soil and even at our homes. It’s a mold and this means that, they can develop anywhere so long as the environment and the temperature is conducive for its growth. A good example is how Penicillium was discovered.

What is Penicillium mold?

First, penicillium is a group of molds and can be found everywhere world-wide. Therefore Penicillium mold is that mold which saved many lives by producing the first known modern antibiotic known as penicillin. The discovery of Penicillium by Dr. Flemings from the fungus Penicillium-chrysogenum which was then known as Penicillium notatum greatly perfected the treatment of infections caused by bacteria.

The name Penicillium was derived from the fact that the spore producing structures of the fungus (conidiophores) had a close resemble to a paintbrush; the word Penicillus is a Latin word meaning paintbrush. Often, Penicillium molds are found in decaying vegetation, soil and air. They tend to be common contaminants on many substances.

Is Penicillium mold dangerous?

Penicillium causes food spoilage and this mean that they can cause health hazard when consumed. In addition, they colonize leather objects and are an indicator-organism for dampness indoors. Some of the Penicillium species produce toxic compounds such as mycotoxins.

The spores in Penicillium molds can trigger allergic reactions for individuals who are sensitive to mold. Henceforeth, the health of occupants can be adversely affected if they live in an environment with amplification of penicillium.

Often, when there is an occurrence of penicillium-species in our food, it becomes a problem since some of these species tend to produce toxins that may make the food inedible or dangerous. Therefore, it’s a good produce for an individual to discard such foods that shows the development of molds (any).

However, some of the Penicillium species are beneficial to humans. A good example is cheese like Brie, Stilton, Roquefort, Camembert and much more to mention are ripened using penicillium species and are safe to eat. In addition, penicillin drug is produced by Penicillium Chrysogenum and it’s a common occurring mold found in most of our homes.

What are Penicillium safe levels?

Penicillium molds grows with the humidity they find in the air that acts as its water source and lack of proper circulation of air or ventilations in your house will enable penicillium molds to start growing on your walls, clothing or even furniture.

Over the years, there has been a great debate on how to set mold spores levels standards in homes. But since mold spores species as well as levels differ from each states, there hasn’t been an agreement. Therefore, to get safe levels for penicillium in your house, consider comparing an outdoor air-sample with the indoor one since each time you open your door or window, mold spores enters your house/home.

What are Penicillium mold allergy symptoms?

Penicillium molds basically are tiny fungi and their spores-floats through the air. Often, they like damp environment and they only need air, food, water and appropriate temperature to grow. You can find molds anywhere; it can be outdoors and indoors of our homes.

We all breathe-in mold spores found in the air. However, some individuals have asthma symptoms or allergic reaction when they are exposed to excess penicillium fungus. If an individual is allergic to mold then it means that, their immune system is very sensitive to certain mold spores and it treats them like allergen.

Therefore, when you inhale these mold spores then as a response, your immune system will trigger symptoms like itchy and watery eyes, sneezing, nasal congestion, itchy lips, mouth and nose or running nose. Though, there are hundreds species of fungus, not all of them causes allergic reaction. The most common species causing allergy include Aspergillus, Penicillium , Alternaria and Cladosporium

What are health effects of Penicilliumn mold?

Exposure to Penicillium molds especially in our homes isn’t good for your health despite the fact that it’s the type of mold in which antibiotics are made from. It’s not healthy for lungs to inhale mold-spores thus exposure to these mold-spores may cause respiratory problems such as coughing, shortness of breathing, chronic sinusitis, sneezing and a runny nose.

To some people, allergic reactions may include respiratory symptom such as rashes or hives, trouble breathing as well as swelling in the throat which is a potential life threatening-reaction known as anaphylaxis. In addition, some of the inhaled fungus may produce toxins such as mycotoxins to your body and this may cause damage to your internal organs.

If in case, it happens that you experience the above mentioned symptoms you suspect to be caused by mold fungus then it’s advisable to see your doctor.

How to remove Penicillium mold?

Any identified type of mold should be removed from houses or homes as quickly as possible. Some of these molds are harmful to our health especially for infants, those with respiratory disorder such as asthma, elderly people as well as those with poor functioning immune systems that may be as a result of an illness like HIV/AIDS or even medical treatment such as organ transplant or even chemotherapy.

Therefore, to protect your health as well as your other family members, it’s essential to have a removal of these mold fungus from our homes.

DIY Penicillium removal

But before, doing that, it’s essential to avoid exposing yourself further to these harmful mold-spores as well as mycotoxins while removing them from your house. It’s advisable to seek professional help for advice and tips on how to do this job as well as protect yourself. But regardless of the situation, if you want to do this job yourself then, it’s advisable to use appropriate safety gears so that you can protect yourself.

They include:

  • N-99 or N-95 respiratory mask
  • Clothing or Tyyek suits
  • Disposable hair covers
  • Safety goggles
  • Disposable shoe covers
  • Disposable gloves

How to get rid of Penicillium mold once for all?

To permanently remove penicillium, since they float on the air, it’s advisable to always keep your house properly aerated or ventilated since these molds like damp place. Therefore, always allow enough light to enter your house and fresh air too.

But if there aren’t enough free ventilation in your home or house, use a fun thus with the continuous circulation of air in the house; it will keep the air in the house dry and this will prevent mold from growing. When there is excess moisture or humidity in the house, it enhances mold growth. Henceforth, with proper ventilation and aeration in your house, you’ll definitely get rid of the penicillium fungus.

But if they prove to be stubborn despite having a proper ventilation in your home/house or after their removal, then you can seek a professional help from mold removal companies like ours, the Mold Busters. We have the best and professional mold removal personnel who knows what they are required of them,

Call Mold Busters to book your mold test.