Species of Trichocomaceae occur commonly and are important to both industry and medicine. They are associated with food spoilage and mycotoxin production and can occur in the indoor environment, causing health hazards by the formation of β-glucans, mycotoxins and surface proteins. Some species are opportunistic pathogens, while others are exploited in biotechnology for the production of enzymes, antibiotics and other products. Penicillium belongs phylogenetically to Trichocomaceae and more than 250 species are currently accepted in this genus. In this study, we investigated the relationship of Penicillium to other genera of Trichocomaceae and studied in detail the phylogeny of the genus itself. In order to study these relationships, partial RPB1, RPB2 (RNA polymerase II genes), Tsr1 (putative ribosome biogenesis protein) and Cct8 (putative chaperonin complex component TCP-1) gene sequences were obtained. The Trichocomaceae are divided in three separate families: Aspergillaceae, Thermoascaceae and Trichocomaceae. The Aspergillaceae are characterised by the formation flask-shaped or cylindrical phialides, asci produced inside cleistothecia or surrounded by Hülle cells and mainly ascospores with a furrow or slit, while the Trichocomaceae are defined by the formation of lanceolate phialides, asci borne within a tuft or layer of loose hyphae and ascospores lacking a slit. Thermoascus and Paecilomyces, both members of Thermoascaceae, also form ascospores lacking a furrow or slit, but are differentiated from Trichocomaceae by the production of asci from croziers and their thermotolerant or thermophilic nature. Phylogenetic analysis shows that Penicillium is polyphyletic. The genus is re-defined and a monophyletic genus for both anamorphs and teleomorphs is created (Penicillium sensu stricto). The genera Thysanophora, Eupenicillium, Chromocleista, Hemicarpenteles and Torulomyces belong in Penicillium s. str. and new combinations for the species belonging to these genera are proposed. Analysis of Penicillium below genus rank revealed the presence of 25 clades. A new classification system including both anamorph and teleomorph species is proposed and these 25 clades are treated here as sections. An overview of species belonging to each section is presented.
New sections, all in Penicillium: sect. Sclerotiora Houbraken & Samson, sect. Charlesia Houbraken & Samson, sect. Thysanophora Houbraken & Samson,sect. Ochrosalmonea Houbraken & Samson, sect. Cinnamopurpurea Houbraken & Samson, Fracta Houbraken & Samson, sect. Stolkia Houbraken & Samson, sect. Gracilenta Houbraken & Samson, sect. Citrina Houbraken & Samson, sect. Turbata Houbraken & Samson, sect. Paradoxa Houbraken & Samson, sect. Canescentia Houbraken & Samson.
New combinations: Penicillium asymmetricum (Subramanian & Sudha) Houbraken & Samson, P. bovifimosum (Tuthill & Frisvad) Houbraken & Samson, P. glaucoalbidum (Desmazières) Houbraken & Samson, P. laeve (K. Ando & Manoch) Houbraken & Samson, P. longisporum (Kendrick) Houbraken & Samson, P. malachiteum (Yaguchi & Udagawa) Houbraken & Samson, P. ovatum (K. Ando & Nawawi) Houbraken & Samson, P. parviverrucosum (K. Ando & Pitt) Houbraken & Samson, P. saturniforme (Wang & Zhuang) Houbraken & Samson, P. taiwanense (Matsushima) Houbraken & Samson.
New names: Penicillium coniferophilum Houbraken & Samson, P. hennebertii Houbraken & Samson, P. melanostipe Houbraken & Samson, P. porphyreum Houbraken & Samson.