Azo dyes are the major group of synthetic colourants used in industry and are serious environmental pollutants. In this study, Pseudomonas putida MET94 was selected from 48 bacterial strains on the basis of its superior ability to degrade a wide range of structurally diverse azo dyes. P. putida is a versatile microorganism with a well-recognised potential for biodegradation or bioremediation applications. P. putida MET94 removes, in 24 h and under anaerobic growing conditions, more than 80% of the majority of the structurally diverse azo dyes tested. Whole cell assays performed under anaerobic conditions revealed up to 90% decolourisation in dye wastewater bath models. The involvement of a FMN dependent NADPH: dye oxidoreductase in the decolourisation process was suggested by enzymatic measurements in cell crude extracts. The gene encoding a putative azoreductase was cloned from P. putida MET94 and expressed in Escherichia coli. The purified P. putida azoreductase is a 40 kDa homodimer with broad substrate specificity for azo dye reduction. The presence of dioxygen leads to the inhibition of the decolourisation activity in agreement with the results of cell cultures. The kinetic mechanism follows a ping-pong bi-bi reaction scheme and aromatic amine products were detected in stoichiometric amounts by high-performance liquid chromatography. Overall, the results indicate that P. putida MET94 is a promising candidate for bioengineering studies aimed at generating more effective dye-reducing strains.