To compare the efficiency of various whole cell immobilization techniques for the production of gluconic acid by Aspergillus niger were investigated using potassium ferrocyanide-treated cane molasses as the substrate. The techniques followed were: (1) Calcium alginate entrapment, (2) cross-linking with glutaraldehyde after cell permeabilization with (a) acetone, (b) toluene and (c) isopropanol and (3) development of granular catalyst. A comparative analysis of yield has revealed that calcium alginate entrapment was the most suitable technique as it had given the maximum product yield (0.40 g gluconic acid/g total reducing sugar supplied). The properties of immobilized A.niger in sodium alginate gel have been thoroughly investigated and compared with those of free cells under most suitable conditions of fermentation. © 1994 Springer-Verlag.