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The ability of the white-rot fungus Trametes hirsutus to degrade an insecticide, lindane, in liquid culture was investigated and compared with that of Phanerochaete chrysosporium. Trametes hirsutus degraded lindane faster than P. chrysosporium but the mechanism of degradation appears to be the same in both. Two metabolites identified in both fungi were tetrachlorocyclohexane and tetrachlorocyclohexanol. The presence of lindane alone inside the mycelium ruled out the involvement of any intracellular enzyme(s) during the initial step of lindane degradation. Lindane at a concentration of 0·27 μmol l−1 exhibited no adverse effect on fungal growth.