The sorption of Mn(II) by viable and inactivated cells of Shewanella putrefaciens, a non-pathogenic, facultative anaerobic, gram-negative bacterium characterised as a Mn(IV) and Fe(III) reducer, was studied under aerobic conditions, as a function of pH, bacterial density and metal loading. During a short contact time (3-24h), the adsorptive behaviour of live and dead bacteria toward Mn(II) was sufficiently similar, an observation that was reflected in the studies on adsorption kinetics at various metal loadings, effects of pH, bacteria density, isotherms and drifting of pH during adsorption. Continuing the experiment for an additional 2-30days demonstrated that the Mn(II) sorption by suspensions of viable and autoclaved cells differed significantly from one another. The sorption to dead cells was characterised by a rapid equilibration and was described by an isotherm. In contrast, the sorption (uptake) to live bacteria exhibited a complex time-dependent uptake. This uptake began as adsorption and ion exchange processes followed by bioprecipitation, and it was accompanied by the formation of polymeric sugars (EPS) and the release of dissolved organic substances. FTIR, EXAFS/XANES and XPS demonstrated that manganese(II) phosphate was the main precipitate formed in 125ml batches, which is the first evidence of the ability of microbes to synthesise manganese phosphates. XPS and XANES spectra did not detect Mn(II) oxidation. Although the release of protein-like compounds by the viable bacteria increased in the presence of Mn2+ (and, by contrast, the release of carbohydrates did not change), electrochemical analyses did not indicate any aqueous complexation of Mn(II) by the organic ligands. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd.