Penicillium Fermentation Services

As a leading CDMO, BOC Sciences provides a variety of microbial fermentation services using Penicillium as host cells in order to meet the needs of customers within different fields. Due to our platform on comprehensive strain development and extensive experience within microbial production, we can offer fermentation services ranging from fermentation R&D to large-scale fermentation manufacturing. Penicillium fermentation plays a central role in the food and pharmaceutical industry. Several species of the genus Penicillium can be used in making cheese and meat products; meanwhile, some Penicillium species help produce antibiotics, enzymes, other macromolecules, and some Penicillium species that have potential use within bioremediation. Thus, our Penicillium system can be served as an efficient industrial tool that provides our customers the one-stop fermentation services.

Introduction of Penicillium

Penicillium is part of the Ascomycetes and known as filamentous fungi. This genus consists of more than 350 members and is a multicellular organism, ellipsoidal in shape. Penicillium species have branched conidiospores, and the conidia are round and unicellular. Penicillium is widely distributed in soil, decaying vegetation, and the air. Because Penicillium can produce a wide range of natural products or secondary metabolites, Penicillium fermentation plays an important role in the food and pharmaceutical industry.

Penicillium chrysogenum is the most studied member of the genus Penicillium. Since the discovery of penicillin, P. chrysogenum has been used in commercial fermentation to help produce β-lactam antibiotics, with the current production strains derived from decades of classical strain improvement. After multiple rounds of mutagenesis from the original strain of P. chrysogenum, such as UV irradiation, X-rays, and nitrogen mustard treatment, selection of the required variants for fermentation production and the improvement of growth conditions within large industrial fermenters of P. chrysogenum, which result in the improved penicillin production of P. chrysogenum.

Advantages of Penicillium Fermentation

Growth of Penicillium

Penicillium, as the filamentous fungi, are less sensitive to changes in nutrients, aeration, pH, and temperature. Several species of Penicillium have been shown to live in saline environments. In addition, due to the filamentous structure of Penicillium, its biomass can easily be separated by filtration.

Production of Penicillium

Penicillium as soil fungi has been shown to produce extracellular enzymes and help metabolize hydrocarbons. Penicillium has the potential to produce expensive enzymes such as cellulase, mannanase, and pectinase from agricultural waste. In addition, Penicillium has the advantage of being relatively easy to grow in bioreactors, making it suitable for large-scale production.

Applications of Penicillium Fermentation

Several members of Penicillium are capable of producing penicillin (β-lactam), a molecule used as an antibiotic. For example, P. chrysogenum has been used as one of the major industrial strains for the production of β-lactams, which have greatly advanced health care. Through genetic engineering methods for strain improvement, the fermented products of P. chrysogenum can be extended to a variety of β-lactam derivatives, which have great economic benefits and potential in the pharmaceutical industry.

Within the food industry, the fermentation of certain Penicillium species is used for making cheese and food flavoring. For example, P. camemberti fermentation produces the main flavor and odor of cheese and can also be used for fermented sausages. P. camemberti fermentation produces compounds such as ammonia, esters, aldehydes, methyl ketones, primary and secondary alcohols that can improve the sensory properties of foods.

Fungi play an important role in the natural remediation of metals and aromatic compounds. Penicillium has potential in bioremediation and biodegradation applications. Their ability to metabolize different xenobiotic compounds, with low requirements for co-substrate, may be of interest toward the development of economically viable contaminant transformation processes.

Project Workflow of Penicillium Fermentation

  • Customer advisory
  • Project discussion
  • Penicillium served as host
  • Strain improvement and fermentation development
  • Novel strain evaluation
  • Project delivery


  1. Guzmán-Chávez, F., et al., Engineering of the Filamentous Fungus Penicillium chrysogenum as Cell Factory for Natural Products, Front Microbiol, 2018, 9: 2768.
  2. Lúcia Leitão, A., Potential of Penicillium Species in the Bioremediation Field, Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health, 2009, 6(4), 1393-1417.
  3. Marco A van den Berg, et al., Genome sequencing and analysis of the filamentous fungus Penicillium chrysogenum, Nat Biotechnol., 2008, 26(10):1161-8.

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