Penicillium are very diverse and cosmopolite fungi, about 350 species are recognized within this genus. It is subdivided in four subgenera Aspergilloides, Penicillium, Furcatum, and Biverticillium; recently the first three has been included in Penicillium genus, and Biverticillium under Talaromyces. They occur worldwide and play important roles as decomposers of organic materials, cause destructive rots in the food industry where produces a wide range of mycotoxins; they are considered enzyme factories, and common indoor air irritants. In terms of human health are rarely associated as human pathogen because they hardly growth at 37°, while the main risk is related to ingestion of food contaminated by mycotoxins produced by several species of Penicillium. Various mycotoxins can occur in foods and feeds contaminated by Penicillium species, the most important are ochratoxin A and patulin; for which regulation are imposed in a number of countries, and at a less extent cyclopiazonic acid. In this chapter we summarize the main aspect of the morphology, ecology and toxigenicity of Penicillium foodborne mycotoxigenic species which belong mainly in subgenus Penicillium sections Brevicompacta, Chrysogena, Fasciculata, Penicillium, and Roquefortorum.
Keywords: Ciclopiazonic acid; Food spoilage; Ochratoxins; Patulin; Penicillium.