Nanotechnology has attracted a great interest in recent years due to its expected impact on many areas such as energy, medicine, electronics and space industries. One of the most important aspects in researching nanotechnology is a synthesis of metal nanoparticles of well-defined sizes, shapes and controlled monodispersity. One of the exciting methods is the production of metal nanostructures using biological systems such as microbes, yeast, fungi and several plant extracts. Biological systems provide many examples of specifically modified nanostructured molecules. Perhaps, the best known are the magnetotactic bacteria which intracellularly synthesize magnetic nanocrystals in magnetosomes. The production of many other metal and metal alloy nanoparticles by organisms is a consequence of detoxification pathways. Organisms have evolved specific mechanisms to prevent excessive accumulation of metals. There are two probable ways to capture or trap the metal ions, electrostatic interaction and/or secretion of substances that will adhere the ions. For the process of intracellular synthesis of nanoparticles, the ions are involved in a nutrient exchange and/or substance diffusion. Thereafter, the functional reducing agents (i.e. reducing sugars, fatty acids, glutathione, flavonoids, terpenoids, fitochelatines etc.) and/or enzymes (NAD+/NADP+- dependent reductases, hydrogenases, oxidases), convert the harmful ions into non-harmful matters. Finally, the nuclei grow and subsequently intracellularly or extracellularly accumulate to form nanoparticles. Despite numerous research made in this area, the mechanism of biosynthesis is not a fully understood. In this paper an overview of the use of living organisms in the biosynthesis of metal nanoparticles is given and different mechanisms leading to the formation of nanoparticles are demonstrated.