The tannase-encoding Arxula adeninivorans gene ATAN1 was isolated from genomic DNA by PCR, using as primers oligonucleotide sequences derived from peptides obtained after tryptic digestion of the purified tannase protein. The gene harbours an ORF of 1764 bp, encoding a 587-amino acid protein, preceded by an N-terminal secretion sequence comprising 28 residues. The deduced amino acid sequence was similar to those of tannases from Aspergillus oryzae (50% identity), A. niger (48%) and putative tannases from A. fumigatus (52%) and A. nidulans (50%). The sequence contains the consensus pentapeptide motif (–Gly–X–Ser–X–Gly–) which forms part of the catalytic centre of serine hydrolases. Expression of ATAN1 is regulated by the carbon source. Supplementation with tannic acid or gallic acid leads to induction of ATAN1, and accumulation of the native tannase enzyme in the medium. The enzymes recovered from both wild-type and recombinant strains were essentially indistinguishable. A molecular mass of ∼320 kDa was determined, indicating that the native, glycosylated tannase consists of four identical subunits. The enzyme has a temperature optimum at 35–40 °C and a pH optimum at ∼6.0. The enzyme is able to remove gallic acid from both condensed and hydrolysable tannins. The wild-type strain LS3 secreted amounts of tannase equivalent to 100 U/l under inducing conditions, while the transformant strain, which overexpresses the ATAN1 gene from the strong, constitutively active A. adeninivorans TEF1 promoter, produced levels of up to 400 U/l when grown in glucose medium in shake flasks. Copyright © 2009 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.