Indian Journal of Microbiology

, Volume 58, Issue 4, pp 470–478 | Cite as

Bacterial Diversity in an Alpine Debris-Free and Debris-Cover Accumulation Zone Glacier Ice, North Sikkim, India

  • Mingma Thundu Sherpa
  • Ishfaq Nabi Najar
  • Sayak Das
  • Nagendra ThakurEmail author
Original Research Article


The Himalayas are water tower for billions of people; however in recent years due to climate change several glaciers of Himalaya are receding or getting extinct which can lead to water scarcity and political tensions. Thus, it requires immediate attention and necessary evaluation of all the environmental parameters which can lead to conservation of Himalayan glaciers. This study is the first attempt to investigate the bacterial diversity from debris-free Changme Khang (CKG) and debris-cover Changme Khangpu (CK) glacier, North Sikkim, India. The abundance of culturable bacteria in CKG glaciers was 1.5 × 104 cells/mL and CK glacier 1.5 × 105 cells/mL. A total of 50 isolates were isolated from both the glacier under aerobic growth condition. The majority of the isolates from both the glaciers were psychrotolerant according to their growth temperature. Optimum growth temperatures of the isolates were between 15 and 20 °C, pH 6–8 and NaCl 0–2%. The phylogenetic studies of 16S RNA gene sequence suggest that, these 21 isolates can be assigned within four phyla/class, i.e., Firmicutes, Beta-proteobacteria, Gamma-proteobacteria and Actinobacteria. The dominant phyla were Firmicutes 71.42% followed by Actinobacteria 14.28%, Alpha-proteobacteria 9.52% and Beta-proteobacteria 4.76%. The isolate Bacillus thuringiensis strain CKG2 showed the highest protease activity (2.24 unit/mL/min). Considering the fast rate at which Himalayan glaciers are melting and availability of limited number of research, there is urgent need to study the microbial communities confined in such environments.


Psychrophiles Psychrotolerant Changme Khang Changme Khangpu Glacier 



The authors would like to thank the Department of Microbiology, Sikkim University for providing laboratory facilities. Thanks to DST (IUCCC) for providing JRF fellowship to MTS and Forest Department, Govt. of Sikkim for providing research permit and access.

Authors Contribution

NT designed the study, reviewed and edited manuscript, MTS did the experimental works, analysis and prepared the manuscript, INN and SD contributed in growth profiling experiments.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

Authors have no conflict of Interests.

Supplementary material

12088_2018_747_MOESM1_ESM.docx (485 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 484 kb)


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Copyright information

© Association of Microbiologists of India 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mingma Thundu Sherpa
    • 1
  • Ishfaq Nabi Najar
    • 1
  • Sayak Das
    • 1
  • Nagendra Thakur
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Microbiology, School of Life SciencesSikkim UniversityGangtokIndia

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