Laccase-producing fungi were isolated from air, using selective media with a chromogenic substrate to indicate enzyme activity. The best laccase producer strain proved to be a Leptosphaerulina chartarum isolate. Laccase production was investigated in the presence of various inducers in different cultivation conditions. The extracellular laccase was purified for further investigations. SDS-PAGE showed that this laccase is a monomeric protein of 38 kDa molecular weight. The enzyme is active in the pH-range of 3.5-6, with an optimum at pH 3.8. It is active in the 10-60 °C temperature range, with an optimum at 40 °C. After 20 min incubation at temperatures above 70 °C the enzyme lost its activity. Degradation of seven aniline and phenol compounds (2,4-dichlorophenol; 2-methyl-4-chlorophenol; 3-chloroaniline; 4-chloroaniline; 2,6-dimethylaniline; 3,4-dichloroaniline and 3-chloro-4-methylaniline) was investigated, with or without guaiacol (2-methoxyphenol) as mediator molecule. Addition of a mediator to the system significantly increased the degradation levels. These results confirmed that the isolated laccase is able to convert these harmful xenobiotics at in vitro conditions.
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