Sol-gel encapsulation of lactate dehydrogenase and its cofactor can be employed as a disposable sensor for L-lactate. The sensor utilized the changes in absorbance or fluorescence from the reduced cofactor nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NADH) upon exposure to L-lactate. Although, problems such as diminished enzymatic activity and/or leaching of enzyme from the sol-gel matrix occurred, the sol-gel process is sufficiently mild to permit retention of enzymatic activity. The apparent activity of LDH in the sensor is at least 10% of that of the dissolved enzyme. The sensor has a linear dynamic range over the normal physiological L-lactate level and has a long-term storage stability of at least 3 weeks.