In the present study we show that recombinant bacterial CotA-laccase from Bacillus subtilis is able to decolourise. at alkaline pH and in the absence of redox mediators, a variety of structurally different synthetic dyes. The enzymatic biotransformation of the azo dye Sudan Orange G (SOG) was addressed in more detail following a multidisciplinary approach. Biotransformation proceeds in a broad span of temperatures (30-80 degrees C) and more than 98% of Sudan Orange G is decolourised within 7 h by using 1 U mL(-1) of CotA-laccase at 37 degrees C. The bell-shape pH profile of the enzyme with an optimum at 8, is in agreement with the pH dependence of the dye oxidation imposed by its acid-basic behavior as measured by potentiometric and electrochemical experiments. Seven biotransformation products were identified using high-performance liquid chromatography and mass spectrometry and a mechanistic pathway for the azo dye conversion by CotA-laccase is proposed. The enzymatic oxidation of the Sudan Orange G results in the production of oligomers and, possibly polymers, through radical coupling reactions. A bioassay based on inhibitory effects over the growth of Saccharomyces cerevisiae shows that the enzymatic bioremediation process reduces 3-fold the toxicity of Sudan Orange G.