Complex I (NADH: ubiquinone oxidoreductase) is generally regarded as one of the major sources of mitochondrial reactive oxygen species (ROS). Mitochondrial membranes from the obligate aerobic yeast Yarrowia lipolytica, as well as the purified and reconstituted enzyme, can be used to measure complex I-dependent generation of superoxide (O(2)(*-)). The use of isolated complex I excludes interference with other respiratory chain complexes and matrix enzymes during superoxide dismutase-sensitive reduction of acetylated cytochrome c. Alternately. hydrogen peroxide formation can be measured by the Amplex Red/horseradish peroxidase assay. Both methods allow the determination of complex I-generated ROS, depending on substrates (NADH, artificial ubiquinones), membrane potential, and active/deactive transition. ROS production by Yarrowia complex I in the "forward mode" is essentially independent of catalytic turnover, membrane potential, and the presence of inhibitors or the active/deactive transition.