A Thanksgiving Microbe: Penicillium

Image Credit: Richard Edelman

Microbe Name: Penicillium

Image Width: 25 microns

Click on image to see bigger picture of this microbe.

Next time at dinner when you give thanks for your food and for your loved ones, you might also want to give thanks for microbes like Penicillium that have benefited your health and your tastebuds.

Mold Makes Antibiotics

This amazing fungus produces the famous antibiotic, penicillin. In 1928. Alexander Fleming observed that a mold called Penicillium notatum produced a substance, later known as penicillin, that killed bacteria in its presence. This antibiotic was the first of many to be found and used to treat infections.

Mold Makes Cheese

Other varieties of Penicillium fungus give Blue cheese and Roquefort cheeses their characteristic tastes and blue color.



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 © 1999 Comm Tech Lab, Michigan State University. This work was created with support from the National Science Foundation and the Center for Microbial Ecology at Michigan State University. Current maintenance is supported by the International Society for Microbial Ecology and the Comm Tech Lab.

This page last updated 11/1/99