White-rot and litter-decaying fungi are capable of decomposing lignin, leaving a white residue enriched in cellulose. This feature is attributed to extracellular enzymes such as laccase (EC 188.8.131.52.), manganese peroxidase (EC 184.108.40.206), lignin peroxidase (EC 220.127.116.11), and manganese-independent peroxidase (peroxidase, EC 18.104.22.168), key enzymes of fungal ligninolytic systems (Figure 1) (Fahr et al., 1999; Schlosser et al., 1997).
There are numerous reports on the biodegradation of pollutants of the environment by white-rot fungi. Among those are recalcitrant xenobiotic compounds such as pentachlorophenol, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH), explosives (2,4,6-trinitrotoluene [TNT]), polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB) or chlorinated pesticides (dichlorodiphenyl trichlorethane [DDT] and lindane) (Fahr et al., 1999; Hofrichter et al., 1998; Martens et al., 1996; Scheibner et al., 1997). In various reports, the involvement of ligninolytic enzymes in the respective degradative processes has been proposed (Grey et al., 1998; Hofrichter et al., 1998; Scheibner et al., 1997).