The desulfurization activity of the resting cells of Gordona sp. CYKS1 was strongly depended on harvest time and the highest value when the cells had been harvested in the early growth phase (0.12 mg sulfur g(-1) cell(-1) h(-1)). For the model oil, hexadecane containing dibenzothiophene, the specific desulfurization rate decreased as the reaction proceeded. Both the specific and the volumetric desulfurization rates were not significantly affected by the aqueous-to-oil phase ratio. The diesel oils, light gas oil and a middle distillate unit feed were desulfurized at higher rates (ca. 0.34 mg sulfur g(-1) cell(-1) h(-1)) than the model oil (0.12 mg sulfur g(-1) cell(-1) h(-1)).