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The current concern for protection of important water uses has greatly increased the use of aquatic bioassays. Their use in quality control of products and effluents and the development of water-quality criteria have led to a proliferation of techniques and approaches. The results of bioassays with aquatic organisms are subject to a great degree of variability depending on the quality of the dilution water, the test species, and the quality of the organisms and of the testing system. Several types of continuous-flow methodology are evaluated, and the advantages and disadvantages of each are discussed. Fail-safe devices, measured concentrations, and as much care and expertise as one would expect with measurements by various types of analytical instruments are essential to obtaining the best bioassay data.
water pollution, bioassay, water quality, continuous-flow, test
Assistant for Water Quality Criteria, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, National Water Quality Laboratory, Duluth, Minn.