Microfracture process during bending tests of alumina ceramics used for artificial joints was evaluated by acoustic emission (AE) technique. Four-point bending tests were carried out in air, refined water, physiological saline and simulated body fluid. AE behavior during bending test inhibited the rapid increasing point of AE events and energy prior to the final unstable fracture. It was understood that the bending stress at the increasing point corresponds to the critical stress for maincrack formation. The critical stress was affected by water in environments more strongly than fracture strength. Consequently, it was suggested that the characterization of maincrack formation is essential for the long-term reliability assessment of load-bearing bioceramics.