Scanning electron microscopy of penicillium conidia

Antonie Van Leeuwenhoek. 1982;48(3):245-55. doi: 10.1007/BF00400384.


The morphology of conidia in 211 species and 12 varieties belonging to the genus Penicillium Link ex Gray have been studied and compared. According to surface ornamentation, conidia have been classified into six groups: A, smooth-walled (7% of the species); B, delicately roughened (13%); C, warty (28%); D, echinate 910%); E, striate with low irregular ridges (36%); and F, striate with scarce high ridges or bars (6%). Whereas the first two groups are closely related in both shape and average size, a gradual reduction was observed in size and in the length/width (l/w) ratio in the remaining groups. Echinate conidia were globose, having the largest average size. Only four species produced conidia not surpassing 2 micrometers in diameter. Maximum length observed was 8 micrometers, and most elongated conidia had a l/w ratio of 3.5. Forty per cent of the species studied had globose conidia. Conidia of the monoverticillate species were generally smaller, more globose and frequently with ridges. In the Asymmetrica, the conidia were generally larger, and showed ridges in comparatively few species. Conidia of the Symmetrica, which were frequently striate with ridges, presented the most elongated forms. The largest average size was found in the conidia of the Polyverticillata which were generally warty. Finally, we have considered the variations in surface ornamentation of conidia during the evolution of the genus Penicillium and drawn attention to their possible relationship with certain habitats and ways of conidial dispersion.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Biological Evolution
  • Microscopy, Electron, Scanning
  • Penicillium / classification
  • Penicillium / ultrastructure*
  • Species Specificity
  • Spores, Fungal / ultrastructure