Impact of Microbial Diversity on Environmental Stability

  • Meenakshi SharmaEmail author
  • Nidhi Gautam
Conference paper


Microbial diversity is the most fundamental component of any ecosystem on Earth. Microorganisms are the most abundant and diverse as they comprise the majority of soil biomass. Microbial community plays a crucial role in ecosystem functioning by controlling biogeochemical cycles of elements essential for life, such as carbon (C) and nitrogen (N). They have great potential in energy conversion and regeneration and will likely be an important component of ecosystem response to climate change. The global climate is changing drastically due to; 1-green house gasses such as CH4-Methane, N2O-Nitrous oxide, CO2-Carbon dioxide, Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs); 2-organic and inorganic pollutants such as heavy metals, ammonia, cyanide, volatile and halogenated compounds. All are released by different industries viz: textile, leather tanning, plastics, pharmaceuticals etc. More than 3.0 million metric tons of toxic chemicals from over 2,000 industries are annually released into the environment. More than 45,360 metric tons (100 million pounds) of toxic compounds are carcinogens. These contaminants not only increased water and agriculture land contamination but also cause various health-related problems. Most of the physio-chemical methods for detoxifying contaminated sites are expensive and release toxins. Therefore, use of Pollution-Eating Bacteria (PEB) viz; Acinetobacteria, Azospirillum, Bacillus, Proteobacteria, Pseudomonas and Serratia is preferred to improve contaminated sites. Unique soil microorganisms also produce beneficial enzymes which degrade pollutants without leaving any toxic intermediates. Various species of Bacillus, Flavobacterium, Paenibacillus, Pseudomonas, Rhodococcus and Serratia cause partial or complete degradation of harmful pesticides like morpholine, methyl parathion and benizimidazole compounds and have dynamic potential to increase crop yield. Microbes produce beneficial enzymes that solubilize highly insoluble nutrients locked up in soil viz: iron (FeIII) and phosphate complexes (Al, Ca and Fe phosphate). These Plant Growth Promoting Microorganisms (PGPMs) also enhance soil quality. Both biotic and abiotic stresses are responsible for the loss of >40% of agricultural production. Various culturable microbes work as an excellent bio-control agent to protect crops from nutrient stress and plant pathogens such as Aspergillus, Fusarium, Pythium, Phytophthora, Rhizoctonia and Sclerotium. Additionally, Acinetobacter, Arthrobacter, Bacillus, Marinobacter, Microbacterium, Panibacillus and Pseudomonas are used for bioremediation and bioaugmentation technology. The present review paper will help in better understanding of microbial ecology and its crucial role in the detoxification mechanism of polluted sites, and environmental stability.


Biofuel Climate change Microbial diversity Pollution-eating bacteria (PEB) Plant growth promoting microorganisms (PGPMs) 


Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflict of interest.


  1. 1.
    Abed RMM, Safi NMD, Koster J, Beer D, El-Nahhal Y, Rullkotter J, Garcia-Pichel F (2001) Microbial diversity of a heavily polluted microbial mat and its community changes following degradation of petroleum compounds. Appl Environ Microbiol 68:1674–1683CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Adesina MF, Lembke A, Costa R, Speksnijder A, Smalla K (2007) Screening of bacterial isolates from various european soils for in-vitro antagonistic activity towards Rhizoctonia solani and Fusarium oxysporum: site-dependent composition and diversity revealed. Soil Biol Biochem 39(11):2818–2828CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Amarger N (2002) Genetically modified bacteria in agriculture. Biochimie 84(11):1061–1072CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Arias ME, Jose A, Gonzalez-Perez Francisco J, Gonzalez-Vila Ball AS (2005) Soil health-a new challenge for microbiologists and chemists. Int Microbiol 8:13–21PubMedGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Barbara J, Finlayson-Pitts James N, Pitts J (1997) Tropospheric air pollution: ozone, airborne toxics, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and particles. Science 276:1045–1051CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Brulle RJ, Pellow DN (2006) Environmental justice: human health and environmental inequalities. Annu Rev Public Health 27:521–536CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Cao L, Qiu Z, You J, Tan H, Zhou S (2005) Isolation and characterization of endophytic streptomycete antagonists of Fusarium wilt pathogen from surface-sterilized banana roots. FEMS Microbiol Lett 247(2):147–152CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Cooper R (1959) Bacterial fertilizers in the Soviet Union. Soil Fertil 22:227–233Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Crutzen PJ, Mosier AR, Smith KA, Winiwarter W (2007) N2O release from agro-biofuel production negates global warming reduction by replacing fossil fuels. A pioneer on atmospheric chemistry and climate change in the anthropocene, vol 50. Springer, Cham, pp 227–238 Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Dolgin E (2015) Safety boost for GM organisms engineered microbes: kept in check with a synthetic building block. Nature 517:423CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Glick BR (1995) The enhancement of plant growth by free-living bacteria. Can J Microbiol 41:109–117CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Glick BR (2012) Plant growth-promoting bacteria: mechanisms and applications. Scientifica 1–15Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Glick BR, Damir M, Karaturovic P, Newell CA (1995) Novel procedure for rapid isolation of plant growth promoting pseudomonads. Can J Microbiol 41(6):533–536CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Gronenberg LS, Marcheschi RJ, Liao JC (2013) Next generation biofuel engineering in prokaryotes. Curr Opin Chem Biol 17(3):462–471CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Hass D, Defago G (2005) Biological control of soil-borne pathogens by fluorescent pseudomonads. Nat Rev Microbiol 3:307–319CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Horrigan L, Lawrence RS, Walker P (2002) How sustainable agriculture can address the environmental and human health harms of industrial agriculture. Environ Health Perspect 110(5):445–456CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Keasling JD, Chou H (2008) Metabolic engineering delivers next-generation biofuels. Nat Biotechnol 26:298–299CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Lal B, Khanna S (1996) Degradation of crude oil by Acinetobacter calcoaceticus and Alcaligenes odorans. Appl Biotechnol 81:355–362Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    Law KL, Moret-Ferguson S, Maximenko NA, Proskurowski G, Peocock EE, Hafner J, Reddy CM (2010) Plastic accumulation in the North Atlantic subtropical gyre. Science 329:1185–1188CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Lecomtea C, Alabouvetteb C, Edel-Hermannc V, Roberta F, Steinberg C (2016) Biological control of ornamental plant diseases caused by Fusarium oxysporum: a review. Biol Control 101:17–30CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    Lin TF, Huang HI, Shen FT, Young CC (2006) The protons of gluconic acid are the major factor responsible for the dissolution of tricalcium phosphate by Burkholderia cepacia CC-Al74. Bioresour Technol 97:957–960CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    Lorenz P, Eck J (2005) Metagenomics and industrial applications. Nat Rev Microbiol 3:510–516CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. 23.
    Lu X, Vora H, Khosla C (2008) Overproduction of free fatty acids in E. coli: implications for biodiesel production. Metab Eng 10(6):333–339CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  24. 24.
    Megharaja M, Ramakrishnana B, Venkateswarlua K, Sethunathand N, Naidu R (2011) Bioremediation approaches for organic pollutants: a critical perspective. Environ Int 37(8):1362–1375CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. 25.
    Meng X, Yang J, Xu X, Zhang L, Nie Q, Xian M (2009) Biodiesel production from oleaginous microorganisms. Renew Energy 34:1–5CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. 26.
    Naidoo S, Olanira AO (2014) Treated wastewater effluent as a source of microbial pollution of surface water resources. Int J Environ Res Public Health 11(1):249–270CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. 27.
    Navas-Cortes JA, Hau B, Jimenez-Diaz RM (2000) Yield loss in Chickpeas in relation to development of Fusarium wilt epidemics. Phytopathology 90:1269–1278CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  28. 28.
    Obayori OS, Adebusoye S, Adewale AO, Oyetibo GO, Oluymi OO, Amokun RA, Ilori MO (2009) Differential degradation of crude oil (Bonny Light) by four Pseudomonas strains. J Environ Sci 21:243–248CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. 29.
    Ortiz-Castro R, Contreras-Cornejo HA, Macias-Rodriguez L, Lopez-Bucio J (2009) The role of microbial signals in plant growth and development. Plant Signal Behav 4(8):701–712CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  30. 30.
    Patten CL, Glick BR (2002) Role of Pseudomonas putida indoleacetic acid in development of the host plant root system. Appl Environ Microbiol 68:3795–3801CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  31. 31.
    Rahi P, Gulayi A (2009) Stress tolerance and genetic variability of phosphate-solubilizing Pseudomonas fluorescence from the cold deserts of the trans-himalayas. Microb Ecol 58(2):425–434CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  32. 32.
    Rau N, Mishra V, Sharma M, Das MK, Ahaluwalia K, Sharma RS (2009) Evaluation of functional diversity in rhizobacterial taxa of a wild grass (Saccharum ravennae) colonizing abandoned fly ash dumps of Delhi urban ecosystem. Soil Biol Biochem 41:813–821CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. 33.
    Searchinger T, Heimlich R, Houghton RA et al (2008) Use of US croplands for biofuels increases greenhouse gases through emissions from land-use change. Science 319:1238–1240CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  34. 34.
    Shah FA, Mahmood Q, Shah MM, Pervez A, Asad SA (2014) Microbial ecology of anaerobic digesters: the key players of anaerobiosis. Sci World J 42:339–346Google Scholar
  35. 35.
    Sharma M, Laisram N, Singh VP (2010) Screening of a soil bacterium for biological control of pathogenic fungi. J Plant Dev Sci 2:1–4Google Scholar
  36. 36.
    Sharma M, Mishra V, Rau N, Sharma RS (2011) Functionally diverse rhizobacteria of Saccharum munja (a native wild grass) colonizing abandoned morrum mine in Aravalli hills (Delhi). Plant Soil 341:447–459CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. 37.
    Sharma M, Mishra V, Rau N, Sharma RS (2015) Increased iron-stress resilience of maize through inoculation of siderophore-producing Arthrobacter globiformis from mine. J Basic Microbiol 55:1–17CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. 38.
    Singh BK, Richard D, Smith BP, Reay DS (2010) Microorganisms and climate change: terrestrial feedbacks and mitigation options. Nature 8:779–790Google Scholar
  39. 39.
    Singh JS (2015) Microbes: the chief ecological engineers in reinstating equilibrium in degraded ecosystems. Agr Ecosyst Environ 203:80–82CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. 40.
    Stephanopoulos G (2007) Challenges in engineering microbes for biofuels production. Science 315:801–804CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  41. 41.
    Torsvik V, Ovreas L (2002) Microbial diversity and function in soil: from genes to ecosystems. Curr Opin Microbiol 5:240–245CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  42. 42.
    Upadhayay SK, Singh JS, Saxena AK, Singh DP (2012) Impact of PGPR inoculation on growth and antioxidant status of wheat under saline conditions. Plant Biol 14:605–611CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. 43.
    Weyens N, Lelie DV, Artois T, Smeets K, Taghavi S, Newman L, Carleer R, Vangronsveld J (2009) Bioaugmentation with engineered endophytic bacteria improves contaminant fate in phytoremediation. Environ Sci Technol 43(24):9413–9418CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  44. 44.
    Wubs ERJ, Wim H, Putten VD, Bosch M, Bezemer TM (2016) Soil inoculation steers restoration of terrestrial ecosystems. Nature 104(2):364–376Google Scholar
  45. 45.
    Yomano LP, York SW, Ingram LO (1998) Isolation and characterization of ethanol-tolerant mutants of Escherichia coli KO11 for fuel ethanol production. J Ind Microbiol Biotechnol 20:132–138CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  46. 46.
    Zhao Y, Yang J, Qin B, Li Y, Sun Y, Su S, Xian M (2011) Biosynthesis of isoprene in Escherichia coli via methylerythritol phosphate (MEP) pathway. Appl Microbiol Biotechnol 90:1915–1922CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  47. 47.
    Zwillich TA (2000) Tentative comeback for bioremediation. Science 289(5488):2266–2267CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of BotanyDaulat Ram College, University of DelhiDelhiIndia

Personalised recommendations