Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology

, Volume 103, Issue 2, pp 643–657 | Cite as

Bioprospecting cold-adapted plant growth promoting microorganisms from mountain environments

  • Anita PandeyEmail author
  • Luis Andrés Yarzábal


Mountain soils are challenging environments for all kinds of living things, including plants and microorganisms. Many cold-adapted microorganisms colonizing these extreme soils play important roles as promoters of plant growth and development; for that reason, they are called collectively plant growth-promoting microorganisms (PGPM). Even though there is seldom doubt concerning the usefulness of PGPM to develop eco-friendly bioinoculants, including biofertilizers and biocontrollers, a series of aspects need to be addressed in order to make this technology field-applicable. Among these aspects, the ecological and rhizosphere competences of PGPM are of paramount importance, particularly when considering the development of bioinoculants, well suited for the intensification of mountainous agricultural production. Studies on native, cold-adapted PGPM conducted in the Indian Himalayan region (IHR) and the Tropical Andes (TA) lead nowadays the research in this field. Noticeably, some common themes are emerging. For instance, soils in these mountain environments are colonized by many cold-adapted PGPM able to mobilize soil nutrients and to inhibit growth of plant pathogens. Studies aimed at deeply characterizing the abilities of such PGPM is likely to substantially contribute towards a better crop productivity in mountainous environments. The present review focuses on the importance of this microbial resource to improve crop productivity in IHR and TA. We also present a number of successful examples, which emphasize the effectiveness of some bioinoculants—developed from naturally occurring PGPM—when applied in the field.


Plant growth-promoting microorganisms Mountain environments Indian Himalayan region Tropical Andes Cold-adapted microorganisms 



This review emerged on the basis of the case studies conducted by the authors in various mountain locations at GB Pant National Institute of Himalayan Environment & Sustainable Development (India), and at Universidad de Los Andes (Venezuela) and Universidad de Cuenca (Ecuador). Present and former directors of GBPNIHESD (India) and Universidad de Los Andes (Venezuela), are gratefully acknowledged for their support. Dr. DS Rawat is thanked for verifying the IHR map. LAY acknowledges Proyecto Prometeo of the National Secretary of Science, Technology, and Innovation of Ecuador (SENESCYT).


AP acknowledges the Ministry of Environment, Forest & Climate Change, Department of Biotechnology, and Council of Scientific & Industrial Research, Govt. of India and Uttarakhand State Council for Science and Technology, Govt. of Uttarakhand for financial support.

Compliance with ethical standards

This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre for Environmental Assessment and Climate ChangeG.B. Pant National Institute of Himalayan Environment and Sustainable DevelopmentAlmoraIndia
  2. 2.Unidad de Salud y BienestarUniversidad Católica de CuencaCuencaEcuador
  3. 3.Departamento de Biología, Facultad de CienciasUniversidad de Los AndesMéridaVenezuela

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