The influential factors on simultaneous growth and copper(II) bioaccumulation by growing cells of Candida utilis yeast under various ambient conditions, such as changing concentrations of molasses sucrose and copper(II) were tested. The highest growth rate of 0.133 h(-1) was obtained at an initial sucrose concentration of 15 g l(-1) in absence of copper(II). For each constant sucrose concentration chosen between 5 and 15 g l(-1), the increase in initial copper(II) concentration up to 500 mg l(-1) resulted in a decrease in the percentage uptake of copper(R) and moreover all copper(II) concentrations tested inhibited the yeast growth. On the other hand, at each constant copper(II) concentration studied, both the growth and copper(II) uptake yield enhanced with raising sucrose concentration up to 15 g l(-1). Maximum uptake yield of 34.2% was observed in 15 g l(-1) sucrose and 50 mg l(-1) copper(II) containing growth medium. The binary effects of initial sucrose and copper(II) concentrations on the specific growth rate and copper(II) uptake yield of yeast were analyzed by experimental design method and two model equations for predicting the growth rate and copper(II) uptake yield of yeast due to arbitrarily chosen sucrose and copper(II) concentrations were developed by using response surface methodology (RSM). (c) 2007 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.