Pseudomonas putida ATCC 11172 was grown in continuous culture with phenol as the only carbon and energy source; a culture practically without biofilm was compared with biofilm cultures of differing surface area/volume ratios. The biofilm did not significantly affect the maximal suspended cell concentration in the effluent, but it increased the maximal phenol reduction rate from 0.23 g/liter per h (without biofilm) to 0.72 g/liter per h at the highest biofilm level (5.5 cm2 of biofilm surface per ml of reactor volume). The increase in phenol reduction rate was linear up to the surface area/volume ratio of 1.4 cm2/ml. The continuous cultures with biofilms could tolerate a higher phenol concentration of the medium (3.0 g/liter) than the nonbiofilm system (2.5 g/liter). At higher dilution rates an intermediate product, 2-hydroxymuconic semialdehyde, accumulated in the culture. When the biomass of the effluent started to decrease, the concentration of 2-hydroxymuconic semialdehyde reached a peak value. We conclude that biofilms in continuous culture have the potential to enhance the aerobic degradation of aromatic compounds.