Impact of maturation and growth temperature on cell-size distribution, heat-resistance, compatible solute composition and transcription profiles of Penicillium roqueforti conidia

Food Res Int. 2020 Oct:136:109287. doi: 10.1016/j.foodres.2020.109287. Epub 2020 May 19.


Penicillium roqueforti is a major cause of fungal food spoilage. Its conidia are the main dispersal structures of this fungus and therefore the main cause of food contamination. These stress resistant asexual spores can be killed by preservation methods such as heat treatment. Here, the effects of cultivation time and temperature on thermal resistance of P. roqueforti conidia were studied. To this end, cultures were grown for 3, 5, 7 and 10 days at 25 °C or for 7 days at 15, 25 and 30 °C. Conidia of 3- and 10-day-old cultures that had been grown at 25 °C had D56-values of 1.99 ± 0.15 min and 5.31 ± 1.04 min, respectively. The effect of cultivation temperature was most pronounced between P. roqueforti conidia cultured for 7 days at 15 °C and 30 °C, where D56-values of 1.12 ± 0.05 min and 4.19 ± 0.11 min were found, respectively. Notably, D56-values were not higher when increasing both cultivation time and temperature by growing for 10 days at 30 °C. A correlation was found between heat resistance of conidia and levels of trehalose and arabitol, while this was not found for glycerol, mannitol and erythritol. RNA-sequencing showed that the expression profiles of conidia of 3- to 10-day-old cultures that had been grown at 25 °C were distinct from conidia that had been formed at 15 °C and 30 °C for 7 days. Only 33 genes were upregulated at both prolonged incubation time and increased growth temperature. Their encoded proteins as well as trehalose and arabitol may form the core of heat resistance of P. roqueforti conidia.

Keywords: Food spoilage; Fungus; Heterogeneity; Penicillium; Spores; Thermal inactivation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Base Sequence
  • Food Microbiology*
  • Hot Temperature*
  • Penicillium / chemistry
  • Penicillium / genetics
  • Penicillium / physiology*
  • RNA, Fungal / chemistry
  • Spores, Fungal / physiology
  • Sugar Alcohols / analysis
  • Time Factors
  • Transcriptome*
  • Trehalose / analysis


  • RNA, Fungal
  • Sugar Alcohols
  • Trehalose
  • arabitol

Supplementary concepts

  • Penicillium roqueforti