Cyanide, a hazardous substance, is released into the environment as a result of natural processes of various industrial activities which is a toxic pollutant according to Environmental Protection Agency. In nature, some microorganisms are responsible for the degradation of cyanide, but there is only limited information about the degradation characteristics of Basidiomycetes for cyanide. The aim of the present study is to determine cyanide degradation characteristics in some Basidiomycetes strains including Polyporus arcularius (T 438), Schizophyllum commune (1701), Clavariadelphus truncatus (T 192), Pleurotus eryngii (M 102), Ganoderma applanatum (M 105), Trametes versicolor (D 22), Cerrena unicolor (D 30), Schizophyllum commune (D 35) and Ganoderma lucidum (D 33). The cyanide degradation activities of P. arcularius S. commune and G. lucidum were found to be more than that of the other fungi examined. The parameters including incubation time, amount of biomass, initial cyanide concentration, temperature, pH and agitation rate were optimized for the selected three potential fungal strains. The maximum cyanide degradation was obtained after 48 h of incubation at 30 degrees C by P. arcularius (1438). The optimum pH and agitation rate were measured as 10.5 and 150 rev/min, respectively. The amount of biomass was found as 3.0 g for the maximum cyanide biodegradation with an initial cyanide concentration of 100 mg/L In this study, agar was chosen entrapment agent for the immobilization of effective biomass. We suggested that P. arcularius (T 438) could be effective in the treatment of contaminated sites with cyanide due to capability of degrading cyanide. (C) 2010, The Society for Biotechnology, Japan. All rights reserved.