BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: The main environmental saprobes, such as Penicillium, play an essential role in natural ecosystems as economically, ecologically, and medically important microorganisms. Biodiversity of this genus has not been described in Bushehr city, Iran. The present study is based on air biodiversity of Penicillium species on culture-dependent approach and culture-independent technique using partial b-tubulin sequences.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: By using active sampling with a high volume air sampler, a total of 157 Penicillium isolates were selected and screened for phenotypic characters. For the purposes of the study, 46 strains representative of 11 morphological species were selected and identified by molecular analysis.
RESULTS: Based on the findings, P. crustosum (18 isolates, 39.1%) and P. chrysogenum (15 isolates, 32.6%) were the most common isolated species, followed by P. brevicompactum, P. rubens, P. citrinum, P. italicum (each 2 isolates, 4.3%), P. olsonii, P. expansum, P. griseofulvum, P. palitans, and P. polonicum (each 1 isolate, 2.1%). Except for P. chrysogenum and P. expansum with floccose colony texture, the rest of the isolated species had velutinous texture.
CONCLUSION: This is the first report in southern Iran to identify a large number of Penicillium strains isolated from air samples, showing P. crustosum and P. chrysogenum as the most common isolated species.