Continuous fermentation experiments in a well-stirred fermentor with Saccharomyces cerevisiae cells immobilized in Ca-alginate beads of small diameter (approx. 1 mm) have been performed in order to discover their intrinsic fermentation kinetics, and compare them to the fermentation kinetics for free cells, by fitting both sets of results to the same model. The results show similar kinetic parameters for free and immobilized cells. The changes in cell concentration inside the beads and microscopical observations of transverse sections throughout the experiments, allowed discernment of two different scenarios of cell growth inside the beads: low cell density and fully developed growth. © 1993 Springer-Verlag.