A strain of Penicillium chrysogenum has been isolated from pine forest soils in Tenerife (Canary Islands). This strain was capable of utilizing hydroxylated and nonhydroxylated aromatic compounds, in particular cinnamic acid, as its sole carbon source. In an optimum medium with high levels of nitrogen (25.6 mM) and low levels of glucose (5.5 mM), it was able to decolorize Poly B-411 and to transform kraft, organosolv, and synthetic dehydrogenative polymerisate lignins. After 30 days of incubation, the amount of recovered kraft lignin was reduced to 83.5 and 91.3% of that estimated for uninoculated controls by spectrophotometry and klason lignin, respectively. At the same time, the pattern of molecular mass distribution of the lignin remaining in cultures was changed. The amount of organosolv lignin recovered from cultures was reduced to 90.1 and 94.6% of the initial amount as evaluated by spectrophotometry and klason lignin, respectively. About 6% of total applied radioactivity of OCH(3)-organosolv lignin was recovered as CO(2) after 30 days of incubation, and 18.5% of radioactivity from insoluble OCH(3)-organosolv lignin was solubilized. After 26 days of incubation, 2.9% of C-beta-dehydrogenative polymerisate and 4.1% of C-ring-dehydrogenative polymerisate evolved as CO(2).