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Coping with oxidative stress originating from oxidizing compounds or reactive oxygen species (ROS), associated with the exposure to agents that cause environmental stresses, is one of the prerequisites for an aerobic lifestyle of Bacillus spp. such as B. subtilis, B. cereus and B. anthracis. This minireview highlights novel insights in the primary oxidative stress response caused by oxidizing compounds including hydrogen peroxide and the secondary oxidative stress responses apparent upon exposure to a range of agents and conditions leading to environmental stresses such as antibiotics, heat and acid. Insights in the pathways and damaging radicals involved have been compiled based among others on transcriptome studies, network analyses and fluorescence techniques for detection of ROS at single cell level. Exploitation of the current knowledge for the control of spoilage and pathogenic bacteria is discussed.