AbstractThe pulp and paper industries are attempting to bring changes to the bleaching process to minimize the use of chlorine to satisfy regulatory and market demands. Xylanases offer a cost-effective way for mills to realize a variety of benefits in bleaching. One main benefit is reducing Adsorbable Organic Halides (AOX) discharge. This is achieved primarily by decreasing chlorine gas usage. Other benefits include eliminating chlorine gas usage in mills with high chlorine dioxide substitution levels and increasing the brightness ceiling (particularly for mills contemplating Elemental Chlorine Free (ECF) and Totally Chlorine Free (TCF) bleaching sequences and in mills using large amounts of peroxide or chlorine dioxide). These benefits are achieved in the long term when the enzymes are properly selected and integrated into the process. This review summarizes the application of xylanases in the bleaching of pulp, with emphasis on the mechanism and effects of xylanase treatment on pulp and paper and the factors affecting the bleaching process and its efficiency. Brightness gains of up to 1.4 to 2.1 units have been achieved with xylanase treatment with the reduction of chlorine consumption by 15.0%. Xylanase treatment can lower the AOX amount in filtrate by 25.0% as compared to references. The Chemical Oxygen Demand (COD) can be reduced by 85%.