Poly(catechol) was synthesized in batch runs with laccase from Trametes versicolor (ATCC 200801). The polymerization reaction was conducted in a closed, temperature controlled system containing acetone and sodium acetate buffer for pH control. The effects of the solvent mixture, monomer (catechol), enzyme, medium pH and temperature on the polymerization rate were investigated with respect to initial reaction conditions and depletion rate of dissolved oxygen in the medium. Maximum initial reaction rate was attained with 10% (v/v) acetone-sodium acetate buffer at pH 5.0, 25 degreesC, 0.02 U/ml enzyme and 250 mg/l initial catechol and 10 mg/l dissolved oxygen. A general saturation enzyme kinetics response was observed for catechol substrate. Temperature rise supported the rate increase up to 45 degreesC, after which the rate tended to be stable due to a drop in dissolved oxygen concentration as well as enzyme instability. (C) 2002 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.