Environmental Microbiology (with special interest in High Altitude Bacteria)
+91 1894 233339, ext. 441

High Altitude Microbiology Laboratory (HAM_Lab): 

Our research focuses on exploring the microbial community from high altitude extreme environments of the Himalaya. One area has been exploring the extreme alpine regions like glacier ecosystem to understand the microbial succession and colonization patterns. Another important area has been to unravel the potential of extremophiles from Himalaya for bioprospection. Currently, with psychotropic efficient hydrolytic bacterial community we have been targeting to improve/accelerate organic waste degradation in alpine regions. Extremozymes for possible industrial applications has been another focus. Apart from bacterial community we have also been exploring the higher fungi (mushroom) of economic importance. We have begun with Lentinula edodes and currently we have developed its improved captive cultivations using local substrates and enriched it with Vitamin D.

The main focus of our lab can be summarized in the following broad themes

·Study changes in community composition in different Himalayan glacier to understand its adaptational strategies and to reveal the response of microorganisms to environmental change.

·Exploration of bacteria from alpine regions of Himalaya for bioprospection-organic waste management & industrial enzymes

·Exploration of higher fungi its enrichment/fortification for value addition and analysis of its metabolites. 

Selected Publications:

1. Kumar R*, Borker SS, Thakur A, Thapa P, Kumar S, Mukhia S, Kumari A, Bhattacharya A, Kumar S. 2021. Physiological and genomic evidence supports the role of Serratia quinivorans PKL:12 as a potential biopriming agent for the biohardening of micropropagated Picrorhiza kurroa plantlets in cold regions. Genomics113(3), 1448-1457 [IF: 6.205]. Popular coverage on ThePrint

2. Baliyan N, Dindhoria K, Kumar A, Thakur A, Kumar R*. 2021. Comprehensive substrate-based exploration of probiotics from undistilled traditional fermented alcoholic beverage ‘Lugri’. Accepted in Frontiers in Microbiology. doi: 10.3389/fmicb.2021.626964 (*Corresponding Author)  [IF: 4.235]

3. Thakur A, Kumari S, Borker SS, Prashant SP, Kumar R* .2021. Solid waste management in Indian Himalayan Region: Current scenario, resource recovery, and way forward for sustainable development”. Accepted for publication in Frontiers in Energy Research. doi: 10.3389/fenrg.2021.609229 (*Corresponding Author)  [IF: 2.76]

4. Mukhia S, Kumar A, Kumar R* (2021) Generation of antioxidant peptides from soy protein isolate through psychrotrophic Chryseobacterium sp. derived alkaline broad temperature active protease.  LWT-Food Science and Technology. 143, 111152.  (*Corresponding Author) [IF: 4.006]

5. Mukhia S, Khatri A, Acharya V and Kumar R*. 2021. Comparative genomics and molecular adaptational analysis of Arthrobacter from Sikkim Himalaya provided insights into its survivability under multiple high-altitude stress. Genomics. 113(1) , 151-158.  (*Corresponding Author) [IF: 6.25]

6. Kumar A, Mukhia S, Kumar N, Acharya V, Kumar S and Kumar R*. 2020. A broad temperature active lipase purified from a psychrotrophic bacterium of Sikkim Himalaya with potential application in detergent formulation. Frontiers in Bioengineering and Biotechnology, 8, p.642 (*Corresponding Author) [IF: 3.644]

7. Walia S, Mukhia S, Bhatt V, Kumar R, Kumar R. 2020. Variability in chemical composition and antimicrobial activity of Tagetes minuta L. essential oil collected from different locations of Himalaya. Industrial Crops and Products. 1;150:112449 [IF: 4.244].

8. Kumari M, Kumar R, Singh D, Bhatt S, Gupta M. 2020. Physiological and genomic characterization of an exopolysaccharide-producing Weissella cibaria CH2 from cheese of the western Himalayas. Food Bioscience. 21:100570 [IF: 3.067]

9. Khare D, Kumar R, Acharya C. 2020. Genomic and functional insights into the adaptation and survival of Chryseobacterium sp. strain PMSZPI in uranium enriched environment. Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety. 15;191:110217 [IF: 4.872]

10. Kumar V, Thakur V, Kumar V, Kumar R, Singh D. 2020. Genomic insights revealed physiological diversity and industrial potential for Glaciimonas sp. PCH181 isolated from Satrundi glacier in Pangi-Chamba Himalaya. Genomics, 112(1), 637-646 [IF: 6.205]

11. Kumar R*, Acharya V, Mukhia S, Singh D, Kumar S. 2019. Complete genome sequence of Pseudomonas frederiksbergensis ERDD5: 01 revealed genetic bases for survivability at high altitude ecosystem and bioprospection potential. Genomics, 111(3), 492-499 (*Corresponding Author) [IF: 6.205]

12. Kumar R*, Acharya V, Singh D, Kumar S. 2018. Strategies for high-altitude adaptation revealed from high quality draft genome of non-violacein producing Janthinobacterium lividum ERGS5:01. Standards in Genomic Sciences. 13(1), 1. (*Corresponding Author) [IF: 1.339]

13. Maurya AK, Devi R, Kumar A, Koundal R, Thakur S, Sharma A, Kumar D, Kumar R, Padwad YS, Chand G and Singh B. 2018. Chemical Composition, Cytotoxic and Antibacterial Activities of Essential Oils of Cultivated Clones of Juniperus communis and Wild Juniperus Species. Chemistry & Biodiversity. [IF: 2.039]

14. Himanshu, Swarnkar MK, Singh D, Kumar R*. 2016. First complete genome sequence of a species in the genus Microterricola, an extremophilic cold active enzyme producing bacterial strain ERGS5:02 isolated from Sikkim Himalaya. Journal of Biotechnology. 222, 17-18. (*Corresponding Author) [IF: 3.503]

15. Kumar R*, Singh D, Swarnkar MK, Singh AK, Kumar S. 2016. Complete genome sequence of Arthrobacter alpinus ERGS4:06, a yellow pigmented bacterium tolerant to cold and radiations isolated from Sikkim Himalaya. Journal of Biotechnology. 220, 86-87. (*Corresponding Author) [IF: 3.503]

16. Kumar R*, Singh D, Swarnkar MK, Singh AK, Kumar S. 2015. Genome assembly of Chryseobacterium polytrichastri ERMR1:04, a psychrotolerant bacterium with cold active proteases, isolated from East Rathong Glacier in India. Genome Announcement. 3(6):e01305-15. (*Corresponding Author)

17. Kumar R*, Singh D, Swarnkar MK, Singh AK, Kumar S. 2015. Complete genome sequence of Arthrobacter sp. ERGS1: 01, a putative novel bacterium with prospective cold active industrial enzymes, isolated from East Rathong glacier in India. Journal of Biotechnology. 214, 139–140. (*Corresponding Author) [IF: 3.503]

18. Kumar R, Kumar R, Nupur, Srinivas TNR, Kumar PA. 2013. Caldimonas meghalayensis sp. nov., a novel thermophillic betaproteobacterium isolated from a hot spring of Meghalaya in northeast India. Antonie van Leeuwenhoek. 104(6), 1217-1225. [IF: 2.674]

19. Kumar R, Nongkhlaw M, Acharya C, Joshi SR. 2013. Soil bacterial metagenomic analysis from uranium ore deposit of Domiasiat in North-east India. Current Science. 105(4), 495-498. [IF: 0.725] 

20. Kumar R, Nongkhlaw M., Acharya C, Joshi SR. 2013. Growth media composition and heavy metal tolerance behaviour of bacteria characterized from the sub-surface soil of uranium rich ore bearing site of Domiasiat in Meghalaya. Indian Journal of Biotechnology. 12, 115-119. [IF: 0.413] 

22. Nongkhlaw M.*, Kumar R *, Acharya C, Joshi SR. 2012. Occurrence of horizontal gene transfer of PIB-type ATPases among bacteria isolated from uranium rich deposit of Domiasiat in North East India. Plos One. 7(10) e48199. (*Equal Contribution) [IF : 2.74]

23. Kumar R, Nongkhlaw M, Acharya C, Joshi SR. 2013. (U)-tolerant bacterial diversity from U ore deposits of Domiasiat in North-East India and their prospective utilisation in bioremediation. Microbes and Environment. 28(1), 33-41. [IF: 2.909]

24. Kumar R, Acharya C, Joshi SR. 2011. Isolation and analyses of uranium tolerant Serratia marcescens strains and their utilization for aerobic uranium U(VI) bioadsorption. The Journal of Microbiology. 49(4), 568-574. [IF: 2.845]



Detailed publications with citations


Start-up Research Grant awarded byScience and Engineering Research Board (SERB) Department of Science and Technology, Government of India in November 2019

INSPIRE Faculty Award fromDepartment of Science & Technology, Government of India in July 2014

Dr. D S Kothari Postdoctoral Fellowship Award from University Grants Commission, Government of India in August 2013

DBT-Research Associateship in Biotechnology & Life Sciences from Department of Biotechnology, Ministry of Science and Technology, Government of India in May 2012

PhD Students: Srijana Mukhia (INSPIRE-Faculty Project JRF); Shruti Sinai Borker (UGC-JRF); Anil Kumar (DBT-JRF); Neha Baliyan (INSPIRE Fellow); Kiran Dindhoria (CSIR-JRF), Aman Thakur (Project Asistant-II), Aman Kumar (JRF-Start-up Research Grant), Sareeka Kumari (JRF-NMHS project). Field Assistants: Jagdeep Singh, Bhunesh Kumar, Krishna Kharka, Ramesh Dogra, Rakesh Kumar

 Candidate with experience in bioiformatics analysis of bacterial genome and metagenome may contact to join our group

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