Coating barley seeds with free and immobilized alkaline phosphatase was investigated as a potential means to enhance plant utilization of accumulated soil phosphorus (P). Two coating techniques were studied: film-coating and pelleting. The highest phosphatase activity retention in the coating layer, ranging from 0·48 to 0·67, was observed when seeds were film-coated with phosphatase–polyresorcinol complex (PPC). The germination of seeds film-coated or pelleted with alkaline phosphatase ranged from 0·84 to 0·97 or 0·14 to 0·25, respectively. Low germination of the pelleted seeds was attributed to freezing the seeds in liquid nitrogen (N) for the layer coating formation. Pelleted seeds were not used in the remainder of the studies. Under pot culture conditions, an increase in the soil inorganic P was detected when the seeds were film-coated with phosphatase. Moreover, the film-coating significantly increased the P uptake by plants (between 25 and 31% after 35 days after planting (DAP)). The present study showed that the seed film-coating with free and immobilized phosphatase increased the phosphatase activity in the rhizosphere and the P uptake by plants.