There is little doubt that the most important inorganic radicals involved in biological systems are those which are intermediates in the oxygen-water redox cycle, i.e. OH<latex>$^\cdot$</latex>, O<latex>$^-_2$</latex> and HO<latex>$^\cdot_2$</latex>. Aspects of the structures and reactivities of these radicals are considered, together with methods of detection. In particular, the use of e.s.r. spectroscopy is outlined, including rapid-freeze and spin-trapping techniques. Attention is called to comparisons and contrasts between these radicals and corresponding sulphur-centred radicals, although these are not strictly 'inorganic'. The oxygen-centred radicals are usually generated in vivo by redox reactions, but they are also of importance in radiolytic processes because they are formed from water. Other radicals formed in this way whose structures and reactivities are considered include solvated electrons and hydrogen atoms.