3-Hydroxypropionaldehyde (3HPA) is an important specialty chemical which can be produced from glycerol using resting cells of Lactobacillus reuteri. This biocatalytic route, however, suffers from substrate- and product-mediated loss of enzyme activity within 2 h of biotransformation. In order to overcome the inhibitory effects of 3HPA, complex formation with sodium bisulfite was investigated, optimized and applied for in situ capture of the aldehyde during biotransformation of glycerol in a fed-batch process. As a result, the activity of the cells was maintained for at least 18 h. The 3HPA produced per gram cell dry weight was increased 5.7 times compared to the batch production process, and 2.2 times compared to fed-batch process without in situ complex formation. This approach may have potential for production and in situ removal of 3HPA after further process development. Biotechnol. Bioeng. 2013; 110: 1243–1248. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.