Abstract Shewanella xiamenensis G5-03 was observed to decolorize the azo dye Congo red in synthetic wastewater. The influence of some factors on the dye decolorization efficiency was evaluated. The optimal decolorization conditions were temperature 30-35 °C, pH 10.0, incubation time 10 h, and static condition. The kinetic of Congo red decolorization fitted to the Michaelis–Menten model (Vmax = 111.11 mg L-1 h-1 and Km = 448.3 mg L-1). The bacterium was also able to degrade benzidine, a product of azo bond breakage of the Congo red, which contributed to reduce the phytotoxicity. The ability of S. xiamenensis G5-03 for simultaneous decolorization and degradation of Congo red shows its potential application for the biological treatment of wastewaters containing azo dyes.