Yersinia enterocolitica 8081c cultures in exponential growth were incubated for 1 h in 0.1% microcrystalline bismuth subsalicylate (BSS) suspensions. Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) revealed microcrystals directly bound to BSS-treated bacteria. Energy dispersive spectroscopy (EDS) X-ray microanalysis of the attached microcrystals confirmed that the crystals were the microcrystalline BSS. X-ray spectra positive for bismuth were also obtained by SEM-EDS X-ray microanalysis of whole bacteria, suggesting metal incorporation into the bacteria in regions absent of bound microcrystals. Transmission electron microscopy of thin sections of embedded preparations of BSS-treated exponential-growth-phase bacteria showed electron-dense deposits in the periphery of the bacteria. Y. enterocolitica cultures that were in stationary phase at the time of incubation with microcrystalline BSS showed no evidence of the electron-dense deposits and EDS spectra were negative for bismuth. Bacteria incubated in the absence of microcrystalline BSS also lacked electron-dense deposits. Scanning transmission electron microscopy used in conjunction with EDS X-ray microanalysis to view and analyze semi-thick sections (250-300 nm) of embedded preparations of BSS-treated bacteria in exponential growth confirmed that the electron-dense deposits at the periphery of the bacteria are the sites of bismuth depositions.