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blue cheese penicillin?


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#1 FayeKane

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Posted 5 September 2008 - 03:55 AM

I was always curious: I read on the blue cheese package that the blue mold is penicillin.

Would eating a lot of it have cured people during the black plague?

thanx

--flk
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#2 iNow

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Posted 5 September 2008 - 06:11 AM

I can't say that I'm 100% certain on this, but I'm going to have to say no way. Even people who have allergies to penicillin can usually eat blue cheese, so you do the math. Also, penicillin to treat plague and other similar illness is injected in high concentration. In cheese, it's a tiny unconcentrated amount and won't likely work in the same way since you'd be ingesting/absorbing it via the digestive tract.

Again, I can't say for certain, but it's pretty darned unlikely that eating a bunch of blue cheese would help people with plague.


In the meantime, here's a super cool magnified photo of penicillium growing on cheese in someone's fridge:

http://www5.pbrc.haw...gela/cheese.htm
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#3 John Cuthber

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Posted 6 September 2008 - 04:45 PM

There are lots of different fungi called penicillium. Very few produce penicilin.

http://en.wikipedia....iki/Penicillium
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#4 Jesse _M

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Posted 7 April 2011 - 03:04 AM

I can't say that I'm 100% certain on this, but I'm going to have to say no way. Even people who have allergies to penicillin can usually eat blue cheese, so you do the math. Also, penicillin to treat plague and other similar illness is injected in high concentration. In cheese, it's a tiny unconcentrated amount and won't likely work in the same way since you'd be ingesting/absorbing it via the digestive tract.

Again, I can't say for certain, but it's pretty darned unlikely that eating a bunch of blue cheese would help people with plague.


In the meantime, here's a super cool magnified photo of penicillium growing on cheese in someone's fridge:

http://www5.pbrc.haw...gela/cheese.htm


It may not be the strain from which we derive the drug penicillin, and in medical things, sometimes a fraction of an inch off target might as well be a mile. That said, I would NOT recommend eating it if you are allergic to mold and/or penicillin...depending on how close and how allergic, you'd be asking for trouble. Several different strains are used commercially to make various blue cheeses and their characteristic flavor. But they are nearly all Penicillin family.

And the % mold count is MUCH more concentrated in expensive slab-off-the-block bleu cheeses--when they melt they're so laden that the liquid is deep bluish grey....and tastes not like spicy-tangy cheese---but kinda mushroomy-moldy WITH tangy cheese. The center of each round slab or slice is honeycombed heavily with blue pockets where they "inject" the mold culture. Gourmet true-blue is a world away form bottled Roquefort salad dressing, or even blue or Gorgonzola cheese "crumbles". The salt content is those is very high--maybe enough to stifle the growth of the mold.

(The mold content is high enough to make my mouth and eyes itch a little, but I'm addicted. Funny, mold anywhere else is revolting...I shudder at the thought, even a hint of any other mold makes me gag, and I have not to think too much about what it is I'm eating to enjoy the cheese.)
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#5 jorge1907

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Posted 7 April 2011 - 09:39 PM

Jesse's right. Penicillium roqueforti isn't know to product penicillin whereas P. chrysogenum and P. notatum do.
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