This study investigated the catabolic potential of a eukaryotic alga to degrade one of the most common organic pollutants, phenol. The alga, Ochromonas danica (993/28), was selected for study after screening for its heterotrophic capabilities. The catabolic versatility of the alga was elucidated by incubating with a variety of phenolic compounds. The alga removed phenol, all the cresol isomers and 3,4-xylenol from its incubation media, with phenol being removed more rapidly than any of its methylated homologues. Consequently, the alga was found to have a greater specificity for phenol than for o- or p-cresols. This study shows that O. danica could catabolize phenol and its methylated homologues.