Escherichia coli MG1655 cells expressing novel bacterial hemoglobin and flavohemoglobin genes from a medium-copy-number plasmid were grown in shake flask cultures under nitrosative and oxidative stress. E. coli cells expressing these proteins display enhanced resistance against the NO. releaser sodium nitroprusside (SNP) relative to that of the control strain bearing the parental plasmid. Expression of bacterial hemoglobins originating from Campylobacter jejuni (CHb) and Vitreoscilla sp. (VHb) conferred resistance on SNP-challenged cells. In addition, it has been shown that NO. detoxification is also a common feature of flavohemoglobins originating from different taxonomic groups and can be transferred to a heterologous host. These observations have been confirmed in a specific in vitro NO. consumption assay. Protein extracts isolated from E. coli strains overexpressing flavohemoglobins consumed authentic NO. more readily than protein extracts from the wildtype strain. Oxidative challenge to the cells evoked nonuniform responses from the various cell cultures. Improved oxidative-stress-sustaining properties had also been observed when the flavohemoglobins from E. coli, Klebsiella pneumoniae, Deinococcus radiodurans, and Pseudomonas aeruginosa were expressed in E. coli.