Carbamazepine (CBZ) is an environmentally recalcitrant compound highly stable in soil and during wastewater treatment. In this study, we examined the mechanisms by which the white-rot fungus Pleurotus ostreatus metabolizes CBZ in liquid culture using a physiological approach. P. ostreatus PC9 was grown in media known to support different levels of a multiplicity of enzyme systems such as cytochrome P450 (CYP450) and manganese peroxidase (MnP). When both CYP450 and MnP systems were active, 99% of the added CBZ was eliminated from the solution and transformed to 10,11-epoxycarbamazepine. High removal of CBZ was also obtained when either MnP or CYP450 was active. When both CYP450 and MnP were inactivated, only 10 to 30% of the added CBZ was removed. In this latter system, removal of CBZ might be partially attributed to the activity of versatile peroxidase. P. ostreatus was able to eliminate CBZ in liquid culture even when CBZ was added at an environmentally relevant concentration (1 μg L(-1)). On the basis of our study, we suggest that two families of enzymes are involved in the oxidation of CBZ in liquid culture: MnP in a Mn(2+)-dependent or independent manner and CYP450. Our study also highlights the potential of using P. ostreatus for bioremediation systems.