Paecilomyces species are common environmental moulds. They are widespread in soils, composts, and food products. In indoor environment, Paecilomyces species have been isolated from air, damp walls, wet plaster work, carpet dust and HVAC fans.
Paecilomyces species are rarely associated with human infections but some species such as Paecilomyces variotii, Paecilomyces marquandii and Paecilomyces lilacinus are emerging as causative agents of mycoses in immuno-compromised patients.
Several species of Paecilomyces are important as agents of biological control. These include:
- Paecilomyces carneus
Paecilomyces carneus is found on a wide range of material, and especially from soil. It is sometimes isolated from insects, though it appears to be a weak insect pathogen. Some isolates produce several metabolites of the antibiotic group cephalosporins.
- Paecilomyces farinosus
Paecilomyces farinosus is also commonly isolated from soil. It is a well-known insect pathogen, and there has been interest in its use as an agent of biological control.
- Paecilomyces fumosoroseus
Paecilomyces fumosoroseus has been isolated from soil, butter and gelatine. It is an insect parasite, causing economic damage to silkwork production in eastern Asia.
- Paecilomyces lilacinus
Paecilomyces lilacinus is most commonly encountered in isolations from soil but has been found on insects on numerous occasions. It has also been found on various organic substrates including plastic contact lenses, synthetic rubber and polyurethane, and is used in fungus resistance testing. Paecilomyces lilacinus has been implicated as a human and animal pathogen.
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