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.
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