Abstract Cells of Escherichia coli induced for l-tryptophan synthase [ l-serine hydro-lyase (adding indole-glycerol-phosphate), EC 184.108.40.206] have been assayed in DMF and DMSO aqueous solvents as reaction medium. Up to 20% DMF/water, cells retained 90% of their tryptophan synthase activity. Concentrations of 20 mM indole, which did not inhibit this reactivity, could be reached with 5% DMF/water. Four matrices were compared for cell immobilization: polyacrylamide, foam particles of bovine seum albumin, alginate and κ-carrageenan. The best activity was retained with the latter matrix, and the preparations thus obtained allowed high productivity of l-tryptophan. Various systems of production of l-tryptophan with κ-carrageenan and DMF/water were studied .