Characteristics of Microbial Community and Enzyme Activities in Higher Altitude Regions

  • Vikas Sharma
  • Digvijay Dahiya
  • D. VasanthEmail author
Part of the Rhizosphere Biology book series (RHBIO)


The high altitude regions around the world consist of an interesting group of landscapes with diverse features and microbial diversity. These regions differ individually and possess their own characteristic features such as lakes, glaciers, desserts, volcanoes, and forests. The microbial diversity found in these remote areas is uniquely adapted to the challenges of high altitude such as cold temperature, lack of water and biomass, seasonal variation in climatic conditions, and solar radiations. The unfortunate lack of studies on the microbial communities at high altitudes has made it necessary for the researchers to explore unique microbes surviving in the extreme conditions of higher altitude along with the enzymes they produce to survive. The novel characteristics of the enzymes obtained from these regions are expected to be industrially important which demands the need of their in depth understanding. The mountainous locations are among the highly prone areas to be affected by the global warming which ultimately leads to changes in the structure of microbial community and even extinction of microbial species. In this chapter, we discuss various higher altitude sites, their climatic conditions and the factors affecting the microbial community structure. We also present the seasonal variation in the enzyme activities and their correlations with various factors such as C/N ratio, amount of biomass, fungal/bacterial number ratio, and change in altitude. In addition, the predominant microbial species found at various high altitude niche regions were discussed.


Microbial communities Enzyme activities Microbial diversity Mountains Psychrophiles 


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© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of BiotechnologyNational Institute of Technology RaipurRaipurIndia

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