It is clear that white rot fungi are able to mediate extensive and often rapid degradation of azo dyes. Although several micro-organisms (other fungi and some bacteria) have been reported to be able to degrade this class of pollutant, it appears that white rot fungi have superior biodegradative abilities in this regard. The enzymes (lignin peroxidases, manganese peroxidases, laccases, and other enzymes) traditionally associated with the lignin degrading system of this fungus are important. However, it is likely that other oxidative enzymes, especially cytochrome P-450 monooxygenases may also be important and they require further scrutiny for a better understanding of how azo dyes (and other organic pollutants) are degraded by these fungi. There is substantial interest in harnessing the biodegradative abilities of white rot fungi to treat contaminated soil and water and considerable progress is being made in the development of bioreactors that are able to effect remediation of water contaminated with a variety of colored substances, including azo dyes.
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