Interactions between differently functionalised silver and gold nanoparticles (NPs) as well as polystyrene nanoparticles with bovine serum albumin (BSA) are studied using circular dichroism (CD) spectroscopy. It is found that the addition of NPs to the protein solution destroys part of the helical secondary structure of the protein as a result of surface adsorption. From the loss of free protein and hence the extent of their structural change adsorption equilibrium constants are derived. The results reveal that citrate-coated gold and silver NPs exhibit much stronger interactions with BSA than polymeric or polymer-coated metallic NPs. It is therefore concluded that for the particles considered, the influence of surface composition on the interaction behaviour dominates that of the core.