Oxidative stress in fungal fermentation processes: the roles of alternative respiration

Q. Li, Z. Bai, A. O'Donnell, L. M. Harvey, P. A. Hoskisson, B. McNeil

Research output: Contribution to journalLiterature reviewpeer-review

33 Citations (Scopus)


Filamentous fungi are arguably the most industrially important group of microorganisms. Production processes involving these simple eukaryotes are often highly aerobic in nature, which implies these cultures are routinely subject to oxidative stress. Despite this, little is known about how filamentous fungi cope with high levels of oxidative stress as experienced in fermenter systems. More surprisingly, much of our knowledge of oxidative stress responses in fungi comes from environmental or medical studies. Here, the current understanding of oxidative stress effects and cellular responses in filamentous fungi is critically discussed. In particular the role of alternative respiration is evaluated, and the contributions of the alternative oxidase and alternative dehydrogenases in defence against oxidative stress, and their profound influence on fungal metabolism is critically examined. Finally, the importance of further research which would underpin a less empirical approach to optimising fungal strains for the fermenter environment is emphasised.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)457-467
Number of pages11
JournalBiotechnology Letters
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2011


  • alternative NADH dehydrogenases
  • alternative oxidase
  • alternative respiratory pathway
  • fungi
  • metabolism
  • oxidative stress
  • aspergillus-niger B1-D
  • neurospora-crassa mitochondria
  • heterologous protein production
  • cyanide-resistant respiration
  • nadh dehydrogenase
  • chemostat cultures
  • ustilago-maydis
  • ubiquinone oxidoreductases
  • saccharomyces-cerevisiae
  • yarrowia-lipolytica


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