Penicillium funiculosum


Penicillium funiculosum Thom

Penicillium purpurogenum Stoll. var. rubrisclerotium Thom


Penicillium funiculosum occurs in tropical areas as well as temperate ones.

This species has been isolated from various substrates and habitats such as:
•    paper
•    leather
•    water (salt marshes, swamps)
•    sediments of estuaries
•    dunes
•    soils (cultivated or not)
•    easel painting
•    atmospheric dust
•    soil dust
•    food products (fruits, fruit syrups, bean sprouts, cereals, nuts)

It feeds acarina such as: Caloglyphus redikorzevi, Acarus gracilis, Glycyphagus destructor.
Toxic species.


    It is a reference strain for the following standards:

    •    NF X41-513
    •    NF X41-514
    •    NF X41-517
    •    NF X41-520
    •    NF X41-600

Description and growth

On Malt-Agar growth medium (MA) (pH 6.5) – White-coloured colonies, sometimes of a pale green-grey, slightly slimy and shiny with erected funiculi at the centre, filamentous and lighter towards the edges. The reverse is slightly white and opaque. It has an aromatic smell. The penicillia are biverticillate and symmetrical. The conidiophores are smooth-walled and are 25-60 µm x 2-3 µm. the metulae are in groups of 5 to 8, almost parallel and are 10 x 3 µm. The phialides are verticillate (5-8 per metulae), in dense groups and cylindrical (10 x 2 µm). The chains of elliptical 2-3 x 1.5-2 µm conidia are smooth-walled. The pH of the medium is not modified during the growth of the fungus (final pH 6.5).

recto - 26°C

verso - 26°C

recto - 37°C

verso - 37°C

On Czapek growth medium (pH 5.5) – Filamentous colonies, slightly white, fast growing, reaching 3-4 cm in diameter within 7 days. The reverse ranges from pale pink to orange-brown in colour. Emanation of a strong aromatic smell from older cultures. There is a slight basidification of the medium during the growth (final pH 6.5).

recto - 26°C

verso - 26°C

recto - 37°C

verso - 37°C

On CYA growth medium (pH 5.5) – furrowed colonies, white to slightly salmon-coloured, lightly velvety with erected funiculi. Pale pink reverse. The species does not modify the pH (final pH 6).

recto - 26°C

verso - 26°C

recto - 37°C

verso - 37°C

Development on different materials.

P. funiculosum well-develops on cotton textile, edition paper and filter paper with the formation of funiculi from the fifth day. Its growth is lower on newspaper, and cotton linters. In all cases, it has a white colour. Its growth is slower on leather and parchment. It turns greyish with age.

Photos: Penicillium funiculosum on leather (flesh), leather and parchment, leather (grain), edition paper, filter paper, newspaper, papers and textiles, parchment and textile (cotton).

Penicillium funiculosum sur cuir (chair)

Penicillium funiculosum sur cuir et sur parchemin

Penicillium funiculosum sur cuir (fleur)

Penicillium funiculosum sur papier (édition)

Penicillium funiculosum sur papier (filtre)

Penicillium funiculosum sur papier (journal)

Penicillium funiculosum sur papiers et sur textiles

Penicillium funiculosum sur parchemin

Penicillium funiculosum sur textile (coton)


Aw 0.9.

P. funiculosum is facultative tonophile.

The growth of P. funiculosum can occur from 8 to 42°C with an optimum at 25-28°C. This species does not live through a 30-minute exposure at 70°C.

Acid-tolerant species able to develop on acidic soils at pH 2.

The DNA analysis shows that the strain has a 49.5-50% GC content.


P. funiculosum is moderately cellulolytic.

It can use as carbon source: glucose, sucrose, maltose, starch or galactose and as nitrogen source: glycine, asparagine, sodium nitrate or potassium nitrate.
It is able to degrade the following compounds:
•    salicine with the release of betaglucosidase
•    ferric acid
•    dextrane with the release of dextranase. This enzyme is used to prevent the formation of the dental plaque due to the elaboration of dextrane following the degradation of sucrose by the Streptococci bacteria in the mouth.
•    fructosane, cellobiose, xylane, 1,2 beta-glucane
•    mannose, glucose, starch with the release of exo-1,3-alpha-glucanase and of beta- mannosidase
•    hydrocarbons
•    polyurethanes (thermoplastic resins)

Synthesized compounds:
•    acetic-3-indole acid
•    carboxypeptidase acid
•    antibiotic with low bactericidal and fungicidal activities
•    cellulase (of which: 1-betaglucosidase, 2,1,4-betaglucane cellobiohydrolase, 3,1,4-betaglucane-glucanohydrolase)
•    cholesterol and other sterols
•    gibberelin
•    paruline (mycotoxin)

P. funiculosum inhibits the germination of tomatoes, radishes and aubergines.

It is capable of absorbing uranium from minerals.

Culture filtrates and mycelium extracts of P. funiculosum have therapeutic properties against swine flu, the semliki forest virus and mouse encephalomyelitis. The active principle is called “helenine”.


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Bronislaw Z (1997) Fungi isolated from library materials : a review of literature. International biodeterioration and biodegradation 40 (1-90), 43-51.

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Hasan HA (1994) Production of hormones by fungi. Acta Microbiol. Pol. 43 (3-4), 327-333.

Inoue M, Koyano M (1991) Fungal contamination of oil painting in Japan. International biodeterioration and biodegradation 28 (1-4), 23-36.

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Samson RA, Hoekstra ES, Frisvad JC, Filtenborg O (1996) Introduction to food-borne fungi. Fifth edition. Centralbureau voor schimmelcultures, Baarn, Delft, 150.