A new method is described for quantitative analysis of tetracycline, based on the decrease in external pH of bacterial suspensions after the addition of a glucose pulse. The decrease in external pH of these suspensions was inversely proportional to the concentration of tetracycline. The correlation coefficient of standard response lines derived from the bioassay was 0.99. Tetracycline potency was determined in six tetracycline HCl samples by the sugar pulse bioassay and a turbidimetric method. The turbidimetric assay result varied from the glucose-pulse data by no more than 7 and 3% at 3 and 7 min, respectively. The procedure is rapid, precise and quantitative, and requires minimal preparation and use of media, with savings in laboratory resources and time.