1-Octen-3-ol is a volatile germination self-inhibitor produced by Penicillium paneum that blocks the germination process. The size of conidia treated with 1-octen-3-ol was similar to that of freshly harvested conidia. Exposure to 1-octen-3-ol resulted in staining of 10-20% of the conidia with PI and TOTO, fluorescent DNA probes that cannot enter cells with an intact membrane, whereas only 3-5% of non-treated conidia were stained. Addition of 1-octen-3-ol to germinating conidia resulted in transient dissipation of the pH gradient. From this, we conclude that slight permeabilisation of the fungal membrane occurs in the presence of the inhibitor. Two-dimensional gel electrophoresis analysis of protein patterns revealed striking differences between non-germinated conidia, germinated conidia and 1-octen-3-ol-treated conidia. In conclusion, 1-octen-3-ol has mild effects on the plasma membrane, but interferes with essential metabolic processes, such as swelling and germination of the conidia, but in a reversible manner.