Three strains were isolated from hydrocarbon-polluted alpine habitats and were representatives of Cryptococcus terreus (strain PB4) and Rhodotorula creatinivora (strains PB7, PB12). All three strains synthesized and accumulated glycogen (both acid- and alkali-soluble) and trehalose during growth in complex medium containing glucose as carbon source and in minimal salt medium (MSM) with phenol as sole carbon and energy source. C. terreus strain PB4 showed a lower total accumulation level of storage compounds and a lower extracellular polysaccharides (EPS) production than the two R. creatinivora strains, PB7 and PB12. Biofilm formation and phenol degradation by yeast strains attached to solid carriers of zeolite or filter sand were studied at 10 degrees C. Phenol degradation by immobilized yeast strains was always higher on zeolite compared with filter sand under normal osmotic growth conditions. The transfer of cells immobilized on both solid supports to a high osmotic environment decreased phenol degradation activity by all strains. However, both R. creatinivora PB7 and PB12 strains maintained higher ability to degrade phenol compared with C. terreus strain PB4, which almost completely lost its phenol degradation activity. Moreover, R. creatinivora strain PB7 showed the highest ability to form biofilm on both carriers under high osmotic conditions of cultivation.