Fourteen fungi were screened for ability to produce proteases with activity on milk protein. The proteases produced were assessed on a lab-scale in terms of their potential suitability for cleaning-in-place (CIP) in the dairy industry. Cleaning performance was assessed by determining the ability of the enzymes to remove an industrial-like milk fouling deposit from stainless steel. Based on the results observed, the extracellular protease activity produced by Schizophyllum commune was selected as most suitable for potential CIP application. A CIP procedure involving a sodium carbonate rinse followed by enzymatic cleaning with this fungal enzyme activity was developed. Satisfactory cleaning, judged by quantification of residual organic matter and protein on the stainless steel surface after cleaning, was achieved using the developed CIP procedure at 40 degrees C. This CIP procedure, based on biodegradable enzymes working at low temperature is more environmentally favourable than conventional CIP methods using caustic based cleaning solutions at 70-80 degrees C. Potential environmental benefits of the developed enzymatic CIP procedure include reduced energy consumption, decreased chemical usage and a reduced requirement for pH neutralisation of the resultant waste prior to release. (C) 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.