Microbial reduction of Au(III) from HAuCl4 was demonstrated. Escherichia coli and Desulfovibrio desulfuricans reduced 1 mM Au(III) in 60 and 120 min at pH 6.9 and 2.3 respectively. TEM and elemental analysis showed the formation of Au(0) nanoparticles and their pH-dependent cellular localisation. The concept was applied to the recovery of gold from jewellery waste leachates using E. coli. Bio-Au(0) nanoparticles were tested for catalytic activity in the oxidation of glycerol, achieving 30% conversion to glyceric acid. A simple bioprocess for conversion of waste to new material is suggested.