The potential use of the fungus Phanerochaete chrysosporium to remove chlorophenols (phenol, o-chlorophenol, p-chlorophenol and 2,4,6-trichlorophenol) from aqueous solutions was evaluated. The kinetics of both adsorption and desorption of phenolic compounds was rapid for all adsorbates. The maximum adsorptions of phenol and chlorophenols onto the Phanerochaete chrysosporium were 1.23 mmol/g for phenol, 1.49 mmol/g for o-chlorophenol, 1.78 mmol/g for p-chlorophenol and 2.14 mmol/g for 2,4,6-trichlorophenol. The affinity order was as follows: 2,4,6-trichlorophenol > p-chlorophenol > o-chlorophenol > phenol. Phenol and chlorophenols binding with Phanerochaete chrysosporium were clearly pH dependent. The adsorption of phenol and chlorophenols increased as pH increased. Desorption of phenol or chlorophenols was achieved using methanol solution (30% (v/v)). Phanerochaete chrysosporium is suitable for reuse for more than ten cycles without noticeable loss of adsorption capacity. (C) 2003 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.