The last decade has witnessed significant developments in the biosynthesis of noble metal nanoparticles (NMNPs) due to their distinct advantages in various practical applications. Many photosynthetic organisms, including plants, microalgae, and photosynthetic bacteria, have been explored for NMNP synthesis in an eco-friendly and cost-effective manner. These biomasses were used for NMNP biosynthesis as growing cells, non-growing cells, whole cells extract, disrupted cell extract, residual biomasses, gum solutions, etc. Different mechanisms might be involved to reduce noble metal ions to NMNP. These mechanisms include reduction of metal ions catalysed by reductases using NADH as electron donors, reduction of metal ions using biochemical molecules such as polysaccharides and proteins as electron donators, and light-dependant biosynthesis of NMNP involving pigments for light capture and water-splitting for electron supplementation. NMNP may be applied as catalyst, antibacterial, anticancer, and drug delivery vehicle. Copyright © 2019 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.