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Bacterial diversity of a sulphur spring in Uttarakhand, India

Sulfur springs have long been credited with unique healing powers for certain diseases both in the early eastern and western medical sciences. In these springs the concentration of elemental sulfur, sulfate, thiosulfate and dissolved sulfide is high and both oxic as well as anoxic conditions are maintained in the water and underlying sediments through the spring. Enrichment culture technique was employed to study the diversity of sulphur spring. The population profile varied significantly. Maximum structural diversity was observed in the soil sample mixed with sulphur water which harboured an assemblage of soil and surface sulphur water microflora. Thiobacillus was dominant microflora of sulphur water (34%) and soil mixed with sulphur water (20%). Pseudomonas was documented to be the dominant microflora of normal water (41%), normal water mixed with sulphur water (41%), cave water (50%) and stalactite (29%). Proteus was predominant in soil sample (25%). Pseudomonas was recovered from all water and soil samples. The diversity indices were employed to study the functional diversity of spring. Maximum diversity of protease producers was observed in soil mixed with sulphur water (H'=2.01; E1=0.64) while that of xylanase producers, maximum diversity was observed in normal water mixed with sulphur water (H'=0.95; E1=0.90). Cellulolytic microflora was most diverse in stalactite (H'=0.98; E1=0.93) while amylolytic microflora was most diverse in sulphur water (H'=0.96; E1=0.88). Amongst pectinolytic microflora, maximum diversity was observed in normal water mixed with sulphur water (H'=0.64; E1=1.80) while phosphate solubilizers were most diverse in sulphur water (H'=0.66; E1=0.96) and maximum diversity amongst siderophore producers was observed in cave water (H'=0.72; E1=0.63)

Author(s): Seema Rawat

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