Twenty-four isolates of Penicillium (including a green-spored mutant from a French Brie cheese, Penicillium camemberti) with a proposed relationship to the white cheese mold P. camemberti were investigated by immunological procedures. These penicillia, which are representative of species that have caused considerable taxonomic confusion, had common micromorphology (terverticillate penicilli with rough and smooth stipes and smooth ellipsoidal to subglobose [(3 to 5) X 2 1/2 to 4 1/2 microns] conidia); growth rates; good growth on creatine sucrose agar, cheese, and other products with a high amount of protein and lipid as a primary habitat; production (with the exception of Penicillium solitum) of cyclopiazonic acid; and the ability to grow at low temperatures and water activities. The isolates that were investigated proved to be strictly antigenically related. Absorbed antiserum of the green-spored mutant of P. camemberti showed a specific precipitin band when tested by immunodiffusion either with its homologous reference antigen or with the exoantigens obtained from different isolates. The precipitin band was not present in any P. camemberti starter culture but in many unwanted cheese contaminants. The precipitin band can be used in the purity control of P. camemberti starter culture spore preparations. Analysis of the exoantigens of all the cultures by reversed phase high-performance liquid chromatography allowed us to subdivide these penicillia into nine groups below the species level. The results indicate that P. commune Thom is the wild-type ancestor of P. camemberti
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