The biochemical oxygen demand (BOD) indicates the amount of oxygen which is needed for the biological degradation of organic substances in water.
Since the generally used BOD excludes the nitrification part of the process, this parameter is poorly suited for the control of waste water treatment plants. Alternatively, the total BOD is well-suited, due to the determination of the nitrogen as well as the carbonaceous part of biological degradation.
Toxicity is described as the direct harmful effect of a substance on organisms. These effects can already occur at low concentraions of toxic substances and are dependent on the incubation period and the dosage.
Some test methods that are available on the market can detect toxicity by using fish, daphnia, molluscs, algae or luminous bacteria and testing whether a water sample has a toxic effect on the organisms. They do not, however, identify exactly which toxins are present.
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