In the present study, an Enterococcus gallinarum strain was isolated from effluent treatment plant of a textile industry based on its ability to decolourize C.I. Direct Black 38 (DB38), a benzidine-based azo dye. Effects of dye concentration and medium composition on dye decolourization were studied. The strain was found to decolourize DB38 even under aerobic conditions. Kinetics of DB38 decolourization was also examined, and V(max) and K(s) of decolourization were found to be higher in Luria broth (12.8 mg l(-1)h(-1) and 490.6 mg l(-1)) than in minimal medium (4.09 mg l(-1)h(-1) and 161.84 mg l(-1)). However, decolourization rate/biomass was found to be higher in minimal medium than in Luria broth, indicating greater decolourization efficiency of biomass in the former. The study also revealed biodegradation of DB38 to benzidine and its further deamination to 4-aminobiphenyl (4-ABP) by the culture. Ammonia released during this process was used as nitrogen source for growth of the culture.