This study examines the effect of bacterial metabolism on the adsorption of Cd onto Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacterial cells. Metabolically active Gram-positive cells adsorbed significantly less Cd than non-metabolizing cells. Gram-negative cells, however, showed no systematic difference in Cd adsorption between metabolizing and non-metabolizing cells. The effect of metabolism on Cd adsorption to Gram-positive cells was likely due to an influx of protons in and around the cell wall from the metabolic proton motive force, promoting competition between Cd and protons for adsorption sites on the cell wall. The relative lack of a metabolic effect on Cd adsorption onto Gram-negative compared to Gram-positive cells suggests that Cd binding in Gram-negative cells is focused in a region of the cell wall that is not reached, or is unaffected by this proton flux. Thermodynamic modeling was used to estimate that proton pumping causes the pH in the cell wall of metabolizing Gram-positive bacteria to decrease from the bulk solution value of 7.0 to approximately 5.7. ?? 2007 The Authors.