The biosorption of copper(II), lead(II), iron(Ill) and cobalt(II) on Bacillus sphaericus-loaded Diaion SP-850 resin for preconcentration-separation of them have been investigated. The sorbed analytes on biosorbent were eluted by using 1 mol L-1 HCl and analytes were determined by flame atomic absorption spectrometry. The influences of analytical parameters including amounts of pH, B. sphaericus, sample volume etc. on the quantitative recoveries of analytes were investigated. The effects of alkaline, earth alkaline ions and some metal ions on the retentions of the analytes on the biosorbent were also examined. Separation and preconcentration of Cu, Pb, Fe and Co ions from real samples was achieved quantitatively. The detection limits by 3 sigma for analyte ions were in the range of 0.20-0.75 mu g L-1 for aqueous samples and in the range of 2.5-9.4 ng g(-1) for solid samples. The validation of the procedure was performed by the analysis of the certified standard reference materials (NRCC-SLRS 4 Riverine Water, SRM 2711 Montana soil and GBW 07605 Tea). The presented method was applied to the determination of analyte ions in green tea, black tea, cultivated mushroom, boiled wheat, rice and soil samples with successfully results. (c) 2006 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.