Understanding the mechanisms of phenol production by microalgae can contribute to the development of microalgal biorefinery processes with higher economic and environmental sustainability. However, little is known about how phenols are produced and accumulate during microalgal cultivation. In this study, both extracellular and intracellular phenol production by two microalgal strains (Tetradesmus obliquus and Chlorella sp.) were investigated throughout a conventional photoautotrophic batch cultivation. The highest intracellular phenol content (10-25 mg g-1) and productivity (12-18 mg L-1 d-1) were attained for both strains in the first part of the batch, indicating a positive relation with nutrient availability and biomass productivity. Extracellular phenol production was 2-20 fold lower than intracellular phenols, but reached up to 27 mg L-1 for T. obliquus and 13 mg L-1 for Chlorella sp. The latter finding highlights relevant issues about the management of the exhausted culture medium, due to likely antimicrobial effects.