Meaning of penicillium in English:


Pronunciation /ˌpɛnɪˈsɪlɪəm/

nounplural noun penicillia

  • A blue mould that is common on food, being added to some cheeses and used sometimes to produce penicillin.

    ‘This is because the cheese maker has to let the air inside the cheese for the penicillium (the blue cheese mold) to develop.’
    • ‘Since 1941, when the first bacterial infection was cured with a concoction derived from the fungus penicillium, we've depended on antibiotics to be there when we're sick.’
    • ‘Identifying penicillia is relatively easy for a trained microbiologist; certifying that the substance ‘dissolving’ bacteria on petri dishes is true penicillin is quite a different matter.’
    • ‘It's been more than 70 years since Alexander Fleming discovered that the mold fungus penicillium was effective against bacteria.’
    • ‘The mould turned out to be a variety called penicillium, and the discovery led to the first antibiotics.’


Mid 19th century modern Latin, from Latin penicillus ‘paintbrush’ (because of the brushlike fruiting bodies).