The dynamic behavior of batch and fixed-bed adsorptive reactors is studied for the enzyme-catalyzed regioselective esterification of propionic acid and 2-ethyl-1,3-hexanediol in hexane. The reaction is equilibrium-limited with an apparent equilibrium constant of 0.6 +/- 0.1 at 22 degrees C. Moreover, accumulation of water produced in the reaction onto the biocatalyst causes a decrease in the catalytic activity. As a result, improvements in both reaction rate and final conversion can be achieved by operating in an adsorptive-reactor mode. Control of water in the reactor is achieved with a catalytically inert ion-exchange resin in Na-form. The resin prevents an excessive accumulation of water on the biocatalyst and reduces equilibrium limitations. The thermodynamic activity of water is identified as a key parameter for the design of such reactors. A mathematical model capable of predicting the water activity as a function of the varying concentrations of reactants and products is thus developed and found to successfully predict the experimental behavior observed in laboratory reactors. Substantial improvements in performance predicted by the model are seen experimentally in batch reactions and during the transient operation of continuous-flow fixed-bed reactors combining adsorptive and catalytic functions.