In the current study, indigenous bacterial isolates Bacillus subtilis VITSUKMW1 and Escherichia coli VITSUKMW3 from a chromite mine were adapted to 100 mg L-1 of Cr(VI). The phase contrast and scanning electron microscopic images showed increase in the length of adapted E. coli cells and chain formation in case of adapted B. subtilis. The presence of chromium on the surface of the bacteria was confirmed by energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDX), which was also supported by the conspicuous Cr-O peaks in FTIR spectra. The transmission electron microscopic (TEM) images of adapted E. coli and B. subtilis showed the presence of intact cells with Cr accumulated inside the bacteria. The TEM-EDX confirmed the internalization of Cr(VI) in the adapted cells. The specific growth rate and Cr(VI) reduction capacity was significantly higher in adapted B. subtilis compared to that of adapted E. coli. To study the possible role of Cr(VI) toxicity affecting the Cr(VI) reduction capacity, the definite assays for the released reactive oxygen species (ROS) and ROS scavenging enzymes (SOD and GSH) were carried out. The decreased ROS production as well as SOD and GSH release observed in adapted B. subtilis compared to the adapted E. coli corroborated well with its higher specific growth rate and increased Cr(VI) reduction capacity. © 2013 Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht.