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Penicillium: A Benefit to Man, a Hindrance to Indoor Air Quality

IAQ Index™ provides easy to use test kits to help identify mold contaminants and other hazards in indoor environments.


One of the most recognized types of fungi is Penicillium.  It is perhaps best known as the fungus, P. chrysogenum, which produces penicillin, a molecule that has saved countless lives as an antibiotic.  It is also used in the production of a number of important biotechnology produced enzymes and macromolecules.  Some species of Penicillium are used in the production cheeses, including blue (bleu) cheese.  Penicillium is also used to improve the flavor of some types of hams and sausages. 
Although Penicillium has brought many benefits to man, it is also a major contributor to mold problems found in homes, offices and schools.  According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “The most common indoor molds are Cladosporium, Penicillium, Aspergillus, and Alternaria.” 
There are over 300 species of PenicilliumPenicillium is a ubiquitous soil fungus that prefers cool and moderate climates and is commonly present wherever organic material is available.  Many species of Penicillium can thrive in a low humidity environment; this allows them to colonize indoor environments under certain conditions.
“Penicillium spores are often present in the air and dust found in indoor environments when properties are tested for suspected mold growth,” reported Bruce Jacobs, CIH, President of IAQ Index, a leading mold and indoor air quality (IAQ) test kit provider.  “In addition to causing allergic reactions in many people and potentially acting as an asthma trigger, a number of Penicillium species also produce mycotoxins.  Penicillium marneffei is also a pathogenic species of Penicillium that has become a growing opportunistic pathogen, particularly for people suffering from AIDS.”
To help educate the public about Penicillium, IAQ Index has sponsored an online video that can be seen at:
To learn more about indoor air quality, air testing or other indoor environmental concerns, please visit IAQ Index at, email or call (888) 259-3883.
About IAQ Index
IAQ Index was developed by a Certified Industrial Hygienist with decades of experience dealing with indoor air quality issues.  IAQ Index was developed as a health-based, easy-to-understand, air quality index that is calculated from data generated for various parameters commonly measured during IAQ surveys.  The approach is similar to the EPA’s Air Quality Index that has been used historically to communicate the risks posed by common pollutants in the ambient air.


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