Wood extractives (resin) cause pitch deposition problems and effluent toxicity in pulp and papermaking. The ability of six sapstaining fungi to degrade and detoxify extractive constituents in Scots pine sapwood was examined, and the results were compared with those obtained with the commercial depitching fungus Cartapip (Ophiostoma piliferum). Pestalotiopsis crassiuscula and O. piliferum were the best strains and they provided high reductions of total resin (50–60␒n 6 weeks). Both strains were highly effective in the degradation of individual extractive components including triglycerides, diglycerides and free fatty acids. Although all strains displayed moderate to high pitch degradation, their detoxifying capacity was limited. Two important exceptions were Ceratocystis deltoideospora and O. piliferum that caused a 11–14-fold decrease in toxicity (Microtox bioassay). These results indicate the potential of wood pretreatment with the selected sapstain fungi for minimizing pitch problems and decreasing effluent toxicity in pulping.