Does a mould make a beetroot poisonous or inedible ?

Lemon's mould for instance, makes penicillin, but it's green there, and I'm allergic to penicillin, would the white mould produce penicillin too?


  • $\begingroup$ Owing to the large number of fungal genera, can you please expand on how the mould developed, its characteristics or maybe a picture? That could narrow the question down. $\endgroup$ – stochastic13 Jan 18 '14 at 5:07
  • $\begingroup$ It was over a month in the fridge :D. $\endgroup$ – Damjan Dimitrioski Jan 18 '14 at 9:40
  • $\begingroup$ To be honest, whichever the answer, better to stay on the safe side and throw it away. $\endgroup$ – nico Jul 17 '14 at 11:03
  • $\begingroup$ The term "mold" does not indicate one taxonomic group of fungi. Rather it is a colloquial term commonly any fungus with microscopic-appearance, often sooty or cottony appearance. As example, slime-molds (no-more being considered as fungus); are very much unrelated with Penicillium-mold (a member of ascomycetes) and Mucor bread-mold (a member of Zygomycetes). $\endgroup$ – Always Confused Aug 10 '16 at 13:06
  • $\begingroup$ All species of Penicillium are not good ... some of them produce toxins. Also all-species are not known to produce antibiotic. Some species of Penicillium used to ferment cheese etc (so likely these do not produce any antibiotics). $\endgroup$ – Always Confused Aug 10 '16 at 13:13

From a study titled "Production of Penicillin by Fungi Growing on Food Products: Identification of a Complete Penicillin Gene Cluster in Penicillium griseofulvum and a Truncated Cluster in Penicillium verrucosum", moulds on food items were analyzed for fungi that could produce penicillin. The conclusion drawn was

Among different fungal species belonging to the genus Penicillium that are currently used as starter cultures in the food industry or that are frequently isolated from cured meat products, only P. griseofulvum (in addition to the previously reported P. chrysogenum and P. nalgiovense) was found to produce penicillin and possess the three penicillin biosynthetic genes (pcbAB, pcbC, and penDE).

Even penicillin should be avoided as the paper states that

The presence of penicillin in food must be avoided, since it can lead to allergic reactions and the arising of penicillin resistance in human-pathogenic bacteria.

During world war two, a strain of Penicillium chrysogenum was isolated from the mould growing on a cantaloupe (reference) for the development of penicillin. This was after searching through many mould families developing on different food items so penicillin strains do develop but are rare.

The problem faced is that moulds cannot be differentiated from each other through sight nor is all penicillin moulds safe (reference). Whatever be the case, I hope that you didn't venture to try and eat that beetroot.

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    $\begingroup$ Actually, I ate it :D, and it's been like 6 months, and I'm still alive :). $\endgroup$ – Damjan Dimitrioski Jul 17 '14 at 16:21
  • $\begingroup$ I can come up to a conclusion that I need to retest my self for penicillin, cause I went through some body enchantments, I doubled my immune system, perhaps I'm no longer allergic to it. $\endgroup$ – Damjan Dimitrioski Jul 18 '14 at 9:57
  • $\begingroup$ @That is debatable because there may not have been any penicillin producing moulds at all. Getting a retest is a good thing. $\endgroup$ – The Last Word Jul 18 '14 at 10:00
  • $\begingroup$ Mycotoxins present in fungus-infected foods are usually not too-drastic. Often they acts like a slow-poison. They often build up cancer, liver-damage etc. $\endgroup$ – Always Confused Aug 10 '16 at 13:19

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