A comparative study of the changes in the components of the antioxidant defense system (ADS), the activity of superoxide dismutase (SOD) and catalase and the level of extractable SH-groups, during the growth of wild-type and mutant (white collar-1 and white colar-2) Neurospora crassa strains was performed. Oxidative stress developing during spore germination and upon the transition to a stationary growth phase was accompanied in all strains by an increase in the level of extractable SH-groups and SOD activity, whereas the total catalase activity decreased during growth. However, in contrast to the wild-type strain, the activity of the catalase in the mutant strains wc-1 and wc-2 slightly increased upon the transition to the stationary phase. In the wc-2 mutant, SOD activity and the level of extractable SH-groups in the exponential growth phase were always lower than in the wild-type and wc-1 strains. The role of wc-1 and wc-2 genes in the level regulation of reactive oxygen species is discussed.