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Benthic algae and heterotrophic growth

Freshwater benthic algae

Freshwater benthic algae are a group of primary producers, i.e., sessile, photosynthetic organisms. They grow on the river bed or epiphytically on algae and other aquatic plants. They are highly sensitive to eutrophication and acidification.

Their sedentary nature means that they cannot move to escape pollution events. Therefore, they are affected by even short pollution episodes that could be easily missed by water chemistry analysis.

For this reason, benthic algae are analysed to calculate indices to assess the ecological status of rivers and streams.

Heterotrophic growth

Heterotrophic growth includes fungi and bacteria, which use easily degradable organic material as an energy source. Heterotrophic growth occurs on the river bed or as biofilm on algae and other aquatic plants.

Under favorable conditions, such as industrial discharge of high volumes of easily degradable organic material, runoff from manure storage or sewage leaks, it can grow rapidly and achieve a high biomass and coverage in a short time.

We analyse heterotrophic growth and calculate indices to assess the organic pollution level of rivers and streams. 

Contact us if you want to know more about what we can offer.

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