By using the adsorbent Saccharomyces cerevisine immobilized on sepiolite an adsorption-elution method was developed for the preconcentration of Cu, Zn, and Cd followed by flame atomic absorption spectrometry (FAAS). Recoveries were 98.3 +/- 0.4% for Cu, 94.2 +/- 0.3% for Zn. and 99.04 +/- 0.04% for Cd at 95% confidence level obtained by the column method. The influence of sea water matrix elements on the separation of the trace elements was also assessed by using the column procedure. The breakthrough capacities were found to be 74 mu mol/g for copper, 128 mu mol/g for zinc and 97 mu mol/g for cadmium. After optimization the proposed method was applied to the trace metal determination in sea and river water.