Taxonomy of Penicillium section Citrina

Jos Houbraken, Jens Christian Frisvad, R.A. Samson

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    Species of Penicillium section Citrina have a worldwide distribution and occur commonly in soils. The section is here delimited using a combination of phenotypic characters and sequences of the nuclear ribosomal RNA gene operon, including the internal transcribed spacer regions ITS1 and ITS2, the 5.8S nrDNA (ITS) and partial RPB2 sequences. Species assigned to section Citrina share the production of symmetrically biverticillate conidiophores, flask shaped phialides (7.0–9.0 μm long) and relatively small conidia (2.0–3.0 μm diam). Some species can produce greyish-brown coloured cleistothecia containing flanged ascospores. In the present study, more than 250 isolates presumably belonging to section Citrina were examined using a combined analysis of phenotypic and physiological characters, extrolite profiles and ITS, β-tubulin and/or calmodulin sequences. Section Citrina includes 39 species, and 17 of those are described here as new. The most important phenotypic characters for distinguishing species are growth rates and colony reverse colours on the agar media CYA, MEA and YES; shape, size and ornamentation of conidia and the production of sclerotia or cleistothecia. Temperature-growth profiles were made for all examined species and are a valuable character characters for species identification. Species centered around P. citrinum generally have a higher maximum growth temperature (33–36 °C) than species related to P. westlingii (27–33 °C). Extrolite patterns and partial calmodulin and β-tubulin sequences can be used for sequence based identification and resolved all species. In contrast, ITS sequences were less variable and only 55 % of the species could be unambiguously identified with this locus.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalStudies in Mycology
    Pages (from-to)53-138
    Publication statusPublished - 2011

    Bibliographical note

    This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


    • Phylogeny
    • Soil fungi
    • Taxonomy
    • Citreoviridin
    • Citrinin


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