With regard to the bioactivity of waters, the saprobity represents the sum of all metabolic processes that are in contradiction to primary production (sapro-, a prefix meaning 'decayed' or 'rotten', from Greek sapros meaning 'putrid'). In simple terms, saprobity is a biological state of waters induced by pollution of the water with decomposable organic substances. Intensive decomposition (decay) processes result in lower oxygen contents, which can be tolerated by organisms to a different extent. Consequently, different degrees (intensities) of pollution give rise to different biocoenoses.

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