Aims: The present study was aimed at finding the optimal conditions for the production of pectate lyase using immobilized Bacillus pumilus DKS1 cells in calcium-alginate (Ca-alginate) beads and determining the efficient degumming of ramie fibre. Methods and Results: The active cells of B. pumilus DKS1 were immobilized in Ca-alginate and used for the production of pectate lyase. The production of enzyme increased significantly with increasing alginate concentration and reached a maximum enzyme yield of 38·5 U ml -1 at 18 g l-1. This was about 1·5-fold higher than that obtained by free cells. Degummed fibre using immobilized cells showed better tenacity than that prepared by using nonimmobilized cells. Conclusions: The Ca-alginate entrapment is a promising immobilization method of B. pumilus DKS1 for semicontinuous enzyme production. Enzyme production by immobilized cells is superior to that of free cells because it leads to higher volumetric activities within the same period of fermentation. Fibre degumming by using immobilized cells produced better quality fibre. Significance and Impact of the Study: This is the first report of degumming of fibre using enzyme from immobilized B. pumilus cells as per our knowledge. High-quality degummed fibre could be prepared with relatively inexpensive inputs for use in the textile and paper industry. © 2009 The Society for Applied Microbiology.