Groove pressing (GP) has been successfully adopted to achieve fine grain size up to 7 μm in AZ31 magnesium alloy with an initial grain size of 55 μm. The effect of microstructural evolution and surface features on wettability, corrosion resistance, bioactivity and cell adhesion were investigated with an emphasis to study the influence of deposited phases when the samples were immersed in simulated body fluid (SBF 5 ×). The role of microstructure was also evaluated without any surface treatments or coatings on the material. GPed samples exhibit improved hydrophilicity compared to the annealed sample. After immersion in SBF, specimens were characterized using scanning electron microscopy (SEM), energy dispersive X-ray (EDAX) analysis and X-ray diffraction (XRD) methods. More amount of white precipitates composed of hydroxyapatite and magnesium phosphate along with magnesium hydroxide was observed on the surfaces of groove pressed specimens as compared to the annealed specimens with an increase in immersion time in SBF. Corrosion behavior of the samples estimated using potentiodynamic polarization curves indicate good corrosion resistance for GPed samples before and after immersion in SBF. The MTT assay using rat skeletal muscle (L6) cells revealed that both the processed and unprocessed samples are nontoxic and cell adhesion was promising for GPed sample. © 2013 Elsevier B.V. All Rights Reserved.