The coccolithophore Emiliania huxleyi was grown in seawater under different Ba concentrations. The relationship of coccolith Ba/Ca ratio and seawater Ba/Ca ratio was found to be linear. The linear regression yields the apparent Ba exchange coefficient of 0.10. Our data support a recently proposed generic model (Langer G., Gussone N., Nehrke G., Riebesell U., Eisenhauer A., Kuhnert H., Rost B., Trimborn S., and Thoms S. (2006) Coccolith strontium to calcium ratios in Emiliania huxleyi: the dependence on seawater strontium and calcium concentrations. Limnol. Oceanogr. 51, 310-320.) developed for explaining apparent exchange coefficients of metabolically inert divalent trace metals, such as Sr, in E. huxleyi. This model represents the first approach combining cell physiological processes and data from inorganic precipitation experiments, which quantitatively explains coccolith apparent Sr and Ba exchange coefficients. © 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.