Highly microporous metal-MCM-41 ordered mesoporous structure catalysts having different metal/Si (V, Mo, Nb) atomic ratios and combinations of metal sources were hydrothermally synthesized. The structural properties estimated using different techniques were found to be in agreement with each other. Metals were successfully incorporated into MCM-41 without deteriorating the ordered hexagonal structure. The metal ions in the synthesis solutions probably settled on the hydrophilic end of the template hence the metal incorporation resulted improvements in the micropore structure. Low loading of metals caused an increase in the surface area and pore volume values of the catalysts. The highest total (1310 m(2) g(-1)) and micropore surface area values (1083 m(2) g(-1)) were obtained by Nb incorporation. The micro- and mesopore dimensions of MCM-41 increased from 0.5 to 1.1 nm and from 2.5 to 2.8 nm, respectively, with metal incorporation. Low V/Si ratios and presence of Nb in the starting solution enhanced narrow mesopore size distribution. The pore dimension and wall thickness values estimated from nitrogen adsorption and X-ray diffraction methods were consistent with the corresponding values obtained using transmission electron microscopy. (c) 2010 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.