Abstract Immobilized preparations of the bacteria ( Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Rhodopseudomonas BHU strain 1) and the cyanobacterium ( Anacystis nidulans) exhibited significant Ni adsorption in the order 91%, 72%, 75%, respectively, within 2 h contact with aqueous NiCl 2 (7·05 μg Ni/0·1 mg biomass). The immobilizing agent (Ca-alginate, 1·5%, w/v) absorbed more Ni (43%) than the exopolysaccharide of cyanobacteria, Rivularia sp. (40%) of Aphanothece sp. (30%). Ni remobilization from different adsorbed systems was maximum (84%) for Ca(NO 3) 2 over NaCl (4·3%) at equimolar concentrations (12 m M, each). Extracts from forest soil (organic C, 2–3%) were more effective in Ni remobilization (22·65%) than similar preparations from garden soil (18%) with organic C in the range of 0·98–1·1%.