The modification of a graphite-epoxy composite electrode (GECE) with bacterial cells along with an analytical application are presented. Pseudomonas putida DSM 50026 was used as a biological component and the measurement was based on the respiratory activity of the cells. The optimization of working conditions of resulting biosensor (including pH and temperature) was conducted and the limit of detection was calculated as 7 mu M phenol based on the signal to noise ratio. Then the system was applied for xenobiotic detection. Resulting sample signals were found to be very similar with the standard solutions having the same concentration while the recoveries of the spiked samples were close to 100%. (c) 2006 Published by Elsevier B.V.