A method of testing water to detect the presence of a chemical or biological warfare agent is disclosed. The method is carried out by establishing control data by providing control water containing indigenous organisms but substantially free of a chemical and a biological warfare agent. Then measuring photosynthetic activity of the control water with a fluorometer to obtain control data to compare with test data to detect the presence of the chemical or agent. The test data is gathered by providing test water comprising the same indigenous organisms as contained in the control water. Further, the test water is suspected of containing the chemical or agent to be tested for. Photosynthetic activity is also measured by fluorescence induction in the test water using a fluorometer.