Small (3.5 1) laboratory microcosms containing water, sediment and were treated with the herbicides diquat and terbutryne. After treatment total numbers of planktonic bacteria increased significantly by 3-11-fold and heterotroph counts also rose significantly, by 3-23-fold but the population increases of exoenzyme-producing bacteria (3-113-fold) were not always significant. As the plants stopped photosynthesizing and decomposed, pH and dissolved oxygen concentrations declined, whilst alkalinity and free CO concentrations increased. All these changes were very similar to results from analogous experiments in natural waters and microcosms are recommended as substitutes for field experiments with aquatic herbicides.


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