Soil microorganisms in general and biocontrol agents in particular are very sensitive to UV light. The packaging of biocontrol microorganisms into cellular solids has been developed as a means of reducing loss caused by exposure to environmental UV radiation. The bacterial and fungal biocontrol agents Pantoea agglomerans and Trichoderma harzianum were immobilized in freeze-dried alginate beads containing fillers and subjected to 254 nm UV radiation (UVC). Immobilization of cells in freeze-dried alginate-glycerol beads resulted in greater survival after UV irradiation than for a free cell suspension. Adding chitin, bentonite or kaolin as fillers to the alginate-glycerol formulation significantly increased bacterial survival. Immobilization in alginate-glycerol-kaolin beads resulted in the highest levels of survival. The transmissive properties of the dried hydrocolloid cellular solid had a major influence on the amount of protection by the cell carrier. Dried alginate matrix (control) transmitted an average of 7.2% of the radiation. Filler incorporation into the matrix significantly reduced UV transmission: Alginate with kaolin, bentonite and chitin transmitted an average of 0.15, 0.38 and 3.4% of the radiation, respectively. In addition, the filler inclusion had a considerable effect on the bead's average wall thickness, resulting in a ∼1.5- to threefold increase relative to beads based solely on alginate. These results suggest that the degree of protection of entrapped microorganisms against UVC radiation is determined by the UV-transmission properties of the dried matrix and the cellular solid's structure. It is concluded that for maximum protection against UV-radiation-induced cell loss, biocontrol microorganisms should be immobilized in alginate-glycerol beads containing kaolin.