What exactly is ROS (reactive oxygen species)


I know it’s something made in the proces of oxidative phosphorylation, and phagocytes use it to kill microbes. But what exactly is it, is it only limited to a single oxygen atom, or can molecules with oxygen in them also be ROS.

In: Biology

Under ROS we understand a couple of molecules (with oxygen) that basically want to react with everything. In organisms we mostly find H2O2 (hydrogen peroxide) and O2- (superoxide). They are used in different situation by organisms, for example as an immune response. Other ROS would be O3 (Ozone) and O (Singulette O2). All of them highly poisinous as they react with basically everything proteins, DNA, cell membranes and so on.
We also have encymes in mitochondria to counter ROS where from time to time ROS are created accidently (superoxide dismutase).