We studied antibacterial and photocatalytic activity of anatase TiO2 and ZnO in phosphate buffer and saline solution. We found that the different anions in the suspension medium (chloride and phosphate) significantly affected the following suspension properties: the stability of nanoparticle suspension, the release of metal ions from the nanoparticles, and the production of the reactive oxygen species by the nanoparticles. As a result, antibacterial activity and photocatalytic dye degradation were also affected. However, the effect of the suspension medium was different for ZnO and TiO2. Obtained results are discussed.