Penicillic acid

penicillic acid mycotoxin

Penicillic acid was first isolated from P. puerile and is now known to be produced by many Penicillium and Aspergillus species and in particular by the members of the Aspergillus ochraceus group. It has been isolated from commercial maize and beans, peanuts, tree nuts, corn, and animal feeds. Penicillium and Aspergillus species that are involved in fruit and vegetable decay may produce a variety of mycotoxins during their life cycle in the host. These include penicillic acid and others, which may elicit toxicological?effects in humans and animals.


Penicillic acid has been reported to exert a variety of biological activities, including hepatotoxicity?in experimental animals. It was also found to cause malignant, transplantable tumors in rats and mice. Penicillic acid is active against Gram-negative bacteria (it exhibits antibiotic action against Echerichia coli) and Gram-positive bacteria, and also exhibits antiviral, antitumor and cytotoxic? effects.

Penicillic acid is cytotoxic?to plant and animal cells and has also been reported as genotoxic?to microorganisms. Although penicillic acid is produced by various penicillia growing on foodstuffs, reports of this toxin in foods are rare, probably as a result of its inherent instability. Similarly to patulin, the unsaturated lactone system reacts readily with sulfhydryl compounds, such as glutathione and cystein, and is rapidly converted to other products, thereby losing its biological activity.

Penicilic acid  (C8H10O4) is a small lactone mycotoxin which form a white water soluble powder in its pure form. Penicillic acid is a hepatocarcinogen?in some animal species, and has also been reported to affect the heart. Penicillic acid demonstrates mutagenic?and cytotoxic?effects. This compound is demonstrated to induce single-strand DNA breaks and to inhibit DNA synthesis in CHO cells. Penicillic acid is also reported to irreversibly inactivate GDP-mannose dehydrogenase, interrupting the committed step in alginate biosynthesis.