Enzymatic O2-dependent oxidations are receiving increased attention for use in fine chemicals synthesis. Solid supported oxidation catalysts often show poor efficiency due to pronounced O2 diffusion restriction. Internal O2 supply therefore constitutes a key parameter for optimizing the enzyme immobilization. We herein describe an optical sensing method for quantitation of space-averaged intraparticle O2 concentrations in porous Sepabeads carriers. The method applies phosphorescence lifetime measurements on Sepabeads labeled with an O2 sensitive indicator dye. Using glucose oxidase immobilized at different loadings (0.005–12 mg/g) on labeled Sepabeads, we analyzed in real time during the enzymatic reaction the formation of O2 concentration differences between bulk liquid and the intraparticle environment. We show that the O2 gradient at apparent steady state increased with increasing enzyme loading, so that O2 eventually became totally depleted from inside the highly loaded carriers. We also show that the residual intraparticle O2 concentration was correlated with the catalytic effectiveness factor (η) of the enzyme immobilizate used, thus providing a direct measure of the magnitude of O2 diffusion limitation. Once corrected for diffusional effect, η was no longer dependent on enzyme loading and its constant value now described the intrinsic activity of immobilized glucose oxidase. Three common procedures of enzyme immobilization, involving adsorption, cross-linking, and covalent attachment, are shown to differ widely concerning the obtained intrinsic activity. Therefore, intraparticle O2 concentration data enable distinction between diffusional restriction and activity loss as the two principal factors limiting the effectiveness of immobilized O2 dependent enzymes, and thus they inform rational design of an optimally active oxidation biocatalyst on solid support. Biotechnol. Bioeng. 2013; 110: 2086–2095. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.