sapro-, sapr-, sap- +

(Greek: rotten, putrid, putrefaction, decay; poisoning from bacterial action)

The study of saprobic environments.
A saprobic organism.
Relating to the feeding of dead or decaying organic matter.
The degree to which the decomposition of organic material is occurring in an aquatic environment.

The saprobity system is based on the observation that in the course of the self-purification process a body of water shows distinct zones of decreasing pollution (or improved water quality); these zones are termed polysaprobic (gross pollution), alpha-mesosaprobic, beta-mesosaprobic, and oligosaprobic; the latter may be divided into alpha- and beta- oligosaprobic.

Each zone is characterized by a particular content of oxygen, organic matter, products of septic decay, and products of mineralization. Biologically, each zone affords optimal conditions for certain species and communities of organisms, the so-called "indicator" organisms.

    The particular saprobity zones may be characterized as follows:

  • Polysaprobic zone, heavy pollution with sewage or other organic materials, mass development of bacteria that are involved in decomposition processes, a high rate of oxygen consumption, and a high production of ammonia and hydrogen sulfide.
  • Alpha-mesosaprobic zone, vigorous oxidation processes, increased dissolved oxygen though oxygen consumption is still high, no hydrogen sulfide production, oxidation of ammonia starts.
  • Beta-mesosaprobic zone, much dissolved oxygen, low oxygen consumption, mineralization of organic materials, and large amounts of the end-products of mineralization; for example, nitrates.
  • Oligosaprobic zone, all mineralization processes have been completed, the dissolved oxygen content is high and oxygen consumption nearly zero; the beta-oligosaprobic level is characterized by rather moderate variety of species and low bioactivity, while the alpha-oligosaprobic level is characterized by a comparatively large variety of species and high bioactivity.
Decaying teeth or dental caries.
An organism that sustains itself on decaying organic matter and contributes to organic breakdown and soil formation.
1. Causing decay or putrefaction; also, produced by putrefaction.
2. Causing, or due to, decay of organic matter.
3. Developing in or living upon putrefying matter.
Growing on decaying material; causing putrefaction.
saprogenous ooze
Ooze formed by putrefying organic matter.
A kind of aquatic fungi, the water molds.
A commercially important fungous disease of fish and fish eggs caused by Saprolegnia parasitica.
1. Thoroughly decomposed, earthy rock, lying in its original place.
2. Soft, clay-rich, thoroughly decomposed rock formed in situ by chemical weathering of igneous and metamorphic rocks.
Pollinated by dung flies.
Any disease due to organisms that are usually saprobes but cause disease in subjects with impaired resistance.
1. An unconsolidated nitrogen-rich slime or sludge, which is formed with incompletely decomposed aquatic micro-organisms; especially, algæ, found in anaerobic environments on the bottoms of lakes and seas.
2. A mud rich in organic matter formed at the bottom of a body of water.
3. A fluid slime found in swamps and bogs as a product of putrefaction.
4. Putrefying sludge rich in hydrogen sulfide.

Don't confuse this sap-,sapro- with another sap- [sapo-] that means "soap" or another sap-, sapi- which means, "wise, wisdom".

Word families with similar applications about: "decay, rotten; wasting away; putrid, pus" word units: phthisio- (decay, waste away); puro- (pus); pus (viscous fluid via an infection); pustu- (blister, pimple); putre- (rotten, decayed); pyo- (pus; purulent); sepsi- (decay, rot, putrefactive); suppurant- (festering, forming or discharging pus); tabe- (wasting away, decaying).