This paper presents the evaluation of the potential use of aqueous two- phase systems (ATPS) for the recovery of 6-phenyl-¿-pyrone (6PP) produced by Trichoderma harzianum. The partition behaviour of 6PP and Trichoderma harzianum mycelium (biomass) in polyethylene glycol (PEG)-salt (phosphate and sulphate) and PEG-dextran ATPS was investigated. The influence of defined system parameters (e.g. molecular mass of PEG and dextran, volume ratio, etc.) on the partition behaviour of 6PP and Trichoderma harzianum mycelium was evaluated to select under which conditions 6PP and mycelium partition to opposite phases. In PEG-dextran systems either large extraction phases were required or mycelium and 6PP partitioned to the same phase. ATPS comprising V(r)=0.23, PEG 8000 6.6% w/w and sulphate 14.0% w/w provided the best conditions to satisfy the process requirement of biomass accumulation into the bottom phase and 6PP concentration in the top phase. (C) 2000 Elsevier Science B.V.