Laccase/mediator systems are important bioremediation agents as the rates of reactions can be enhanced in the presence of the mediators. The decolorization mechanism of two triarylmethane dyes, namely, Basic Green 4 and Acid Violet 17 is reported using Cyathus bulleri laccase. Basic Green 4 was decolorized through N-demethylation by laccase alone, while in mediator assisted reactions, dye breakdown was initiated from oxidation of carbinol form of the dye. Benzaldehyde and N,N-dimethyl aniline were the major end products. With Acid Violet 17, laccase carried out N-deethylation and in mediator assisted reactions, oxidation of the carbinol form of the dye occurred resulting in formation of formyl benzene sulfonic acid, carboxy benzene sulfonic acid and benzene sulfonic acid. Toxicity analysis revealed that Basic Green 4 was toxic and treatment with laccase/mediators resulted in 80-100% detoxification. The treatment of the textile dye solution using laccase and 2,2′-azino-di-(-ethylbenzothiazoline-6-sulfonic acid) (ABTS) was demonstrated in an enzyme membrane reactor. At a hydraulic retention time of 6 h, the process was operated for a period of 15 days with nearly 95% decolorization, 10% reduction in flux and 70% recovery of active ABTS. © 2009 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.