Incomplete oxygen reduction gives rise to reactive oxygen species (ROS). For a long time they have been considered unwelcome companions of aerobic metabolism. Organisms using oxygen developed several systems of ROS scavenging with enzymatic and non enzymatic antioxidants, which allow them control the cellular level of oxygen derived from free radicals. It is well established nowadays that ROS are not necessarily negative byproducts, but they also play an important role in cellular mechanisms. They are involved in many regular cellular processes in all aerobic organisms. When the antioxidant system is overcome and the balance between ROS production and scavenging is disrupted, oxidative stress occurs. It has been reported that oxidative stress may be linked to some human diseases and is also involved in biotic and abiotic stress response in plants.
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