Penicillium chrysogenum is also known as Penicillium notatum, the first Penicillium fungi used for the isolation of penicillin antibiotics, which is used for the treatment of Gram-positive bacteria. The name penicillium originates from Latin to mean painters brush because of the structure of the conidial spores which are fluffy in appearance.
- It is also used in the production of other β-lactam antibiotics.
- It is an allergen and has pathogenic activity however it is uncommon in causing disease in humans.
- Incidences of opportunistic infections by P.chrysogenum have however been reported, causing infections in immune-compromised persons with underlying conditions.
- It is found indoors, in areas that are humid, dump, or having dumped water.
- It is also very common in temperate and subtropical areas.
- It is found in moist soil and degraded forest vegetation.
- It is saprophytic hence it can also grow in the dead decayed matter.
- It also grows in stored food and damp building material, hence it is commonly an indoor fungus.
- It can also be found on alfalfa leafcutter bees and subglacial ice feeding on sediment-rich basal ice shelves.
- It can also be found on fruit causing decay.
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Penicillium Chrysogenum can most often be found in indoor environments, particularly in those with high humidity, dampness, or previous water damage.
Penicillium Chrysogenum colonies are blue-green in colour with a yellowish pigment often appearing as well. However, identifying Penicillium Chrysogenum based on colour alone is not possible.
Penicillium Chrysogenum is well-known both as an allergen and as a pathogen, although it is rarely reported as a cause of human disease. However, it has been known to cause a variety of opportunistic infections, mostly in people whose immune systems are weakened due to already suffering from another disease.
Where does Penicillium Chrysogenum grow?
Penicillium Chrysogenum grows well in indoor environments, and water damaged or damp areas of buildings are considered to be a good environment for the growth of this fungus. It can also develop on fruits and vegetables, cereal grains, cured meat products, margarine, cheese and other dairy products which have a tendency to decompose and decay after a period of time.
Outdoors it is mostly found in the soil and on decaying vegetation.
Possible treatment options:
- Treatment is by surgical removal of the foci of the infection
- Use of oral antifungals such as amphotericin B and itraconazole.
- For systemic endophthalmitis, use of topical amphotericin B or itraconazole
Control and prevention:
- Using water to spray off areas where the fungus is growing, to reduce spore spread into the air.
- Use bleaches and warm water to clean the walls.
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