The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



the physiological and biochemical characteristics of an organism that permit it to live in water with some amount of organic matter, that is, with some degree of pollution. The concept of saprobity was formulated by Ia. Ia. Niki-tinskii and G. I. Dolgov, the founders of sanitary hydrobiology in Russia.

In connection with the intense pollution of waters by industrial wastes, toxic chemicals, fertilizers, and household chemical products, the term “saprobity” is often replaced by the term “toxobity.” Toxobity is the aggregate of physiological and biochemical characteristics that permit an organism to live in reservoirs and streams polluted by sewage. The concept of saprobity was originally formulated in relation to inland waters, but it is now also applied to seas and oceans because of the dramatic increase in their pollution. The pollution of waters by organic substances is evaluated in terms of saprobity. Accordingly, distinctions are made between polysaprobic, mesosaprobic, and oligosaprobic waters.


Dolgov, G. I., and Ia. Ia. Nikitinskii. “Gidrobiologicheskie metody issledovaniia.” In Standartnye metody issledovaniia pit’evykh i stochnykh vod. Moscow, 1927.
Zhadin, V. I. “Problemy sanitarnoi gidrobiologii vnutrennikh vodoemov.” In Sanitarnaia i tekhnicheskaia gidrobiologiia. Moscow, 1967.
Sládeček, V. “The Future of the Saprobity System.” Hydrobiologia, 1965, vol. 25, fasc. 3–4.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
The results of the phytoplankton analysis indicated 67 types of saprobity indicators 73% of which belong to the alpha-, beta-, alphabeta-, oligo-alpha-, oligo-beta-mesosaprobe types.
Currently the array of indices used include the Specific Polluosensitivity Index (SPI) [2], the Saprobity Index (SI) [35], the Diatom Assemblage Index for organic pollution (DAIpo) [47], Generic Diatom Index (GDI) [33], the European Economic Community index (EEC) [3], the Trophic Index of van Dam [44], the Trophic Diatom Index (TDI) [13], the Saprobic Index of Rott [32] and the standardized Biological Diatom Index (BDI) [23].
They developed firstly the Saprobic system--the Saprobity index--that was modified by Liebmann (1951) and Pantle and Buck (1955) which gives values to the species present in the system under consideration in relation to levels of pollution.
As a result of human impact, conditions have changed towards saprobity and toxicity of the water, and the phytoplankton biomass has increased.
These saprobity levels correspond to class III and IV waters, with low or no oxygen content, characterizing polytrophic environments, meaning extremely polluted (Streble and Krauter, 1987).
have not been classified as to saprobity because they have only been identified at the genus level.
The trophic relationships are significantly altered when the level of saprobity increases.
Although the Austrian index of saprobity, based on identification to the species level, is considered more accurate for Austrian conditions compared with ASPT, a significant correlation occurred between them (Strubauer & Moog, 2001).