The globe artichoke [Cynara cardunculus L. var. scolymus (L.)
Fiori], an ancient vegetable originated in the Mediterranean Basin,
is currently cultivated in many regions of the world under a
perennial cycle or as an annual crop, with the first method being
more widespread globally. The growing importance of globe
artichoke as modern functional food as well as a source of
pharmaceuticals has raised new issues that all producers have to
face; hence the necessity of contemporaneous development of new
centres of production and new technologies application in
traditional regions of growing which can complement the global
market. This review is focused on development of globe artichoke
technology of production in recent several years which meet the
diversified requirements of global and local markets. We considered
the recent literature to highlight specific applications of modern
farming practices and plant breeding along with genetic variation
to globe artichoke production system as well as to postharvest
management in order to enhance the value added of this
commodity. The latter targets are mainly addressed to particular
regions of the world and they are based on farmers knowledge,
equipment, scale and methods of production, processing, final
market. Our reports are focused on sustainable and environmentally
friendly methods which can improve the profitability of production
as well as product’s quality and quantity traits. We discussed the
balanced mineral application which can precisely affect the yield
chemical composition, attractiveness and shelf life of globe
artichoke heads as well as create the opportunities to attain
standardised by-products, valuable on the market of health and
convenient food. Further topics were developed, such as
introduction of seed propagation, intercropping, grafting, flowering
induction, postharvest treatments as linked to different regions and
conditions of production. Precise selection of modern management
practices was recognised as a main goal to fulfil the requirements
of local and global market for fresh, processed and new potential
globe artichoke products.
The globe artichoke originates in the Mediterranean Basin,
where it was most likely introduced as a crop in about the first
century AD (Sonnante et al., 2007). The Mediterranean Basin
remains the main globe artichoke growing region today. Italy
(coastal plains of the southern regions Sicily, Apulia, Sardinia and
Campania) is the world leader in globe artichoke production, while
Spain is the biggest exporter and France - importer of fresh and
preserved crop (Bianco, 2005; Lombardo et al., 2017b). Outside of
Southern Europe and North Africa, the plant is cultivated in China,
the USA (California), Argentina, Chile, Peru and Brazil, although
the scale of production is not reflected by the yield. Different timing
and methods of production can achieve high yields in countries
where globe artichoke has not long tradition of production, like
Peru, Argentine or Iran (Macua, 2007). The production value of
globe artichoke is usually higher than that of any common
vegetables. Therefore, commercial production could be
successfully established in many regions with relevant
environmental conditions, to provide new market opportunities for
regional agricultural economies (Shinohara et al., 2011). In the
latest review (Sękara et al., 2015) we focused on benefits
development of globe artichoke production in Central Europe
countries, including ethnobotanical, genetical, biochemical, and
technological aspects. Present review is focused on application of
new technologies for globe artichoke production with a view to
meeting the changing market requirements both, in regional and
global scale. In developed countries, there is a match of production
Correspondence: Aneta Grabowska, Department of Vegetable and
Medicinal Plants, Faculty of Biotechnology and Horticulture,
University of Agriculture in Krakow, Al. 29 Listopada 54, 31-425
Krakow, Poland. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Key words: Cynara cardunculus var. scolymus (L.) Fiori; market; qual-
ity; regionalisation; technologies.
Acknowledgements: this research was financed by the Ministry of
Science and Higher Education of the Republic of Poland.
Received for publication: 15 March 2018.
Revision received: 13 July 2018.
Accepted for publication: 24 July 2018.
©Copyright A. Grabowska et al., 2018
Licensee PAGEPress, Italy
Italian Journal of Agronomy 2018; 13:1252
This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons
Attribution Noncommercial License (by-nc 4.0) which permits any non-
commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provid-
ed the original author(s) and source are credited.
Application of modern agronomic and biotechnological strategies
to valorise worldwide globe artichoke (
potential - an analytical overview
Aneta Grabowska,1Gianluca Caruso,2Ali Mehrafarin,3Andrzej Kalisz,1Robert Gruszecki,4
Edward Kunicki,1Agnieszka Sękara1
1Department of Vegetable and Medicinal Plants, Faculty of Biotechnology and Horticulture, University of
Agriculture in Krakow, Poland; 2Department of Agricultural Sciences, University of Naples Federico II,
Italy; 3Medicinal Plants Research Centre, Institute of Medicinal Plants, ACECR, Karaj, Iran; 4Department
of Vegetable Crops and Medicinal Plants, University of Life Sciences in Lublin, Poland
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methods to market demands focused on environmentally friendly
techniques and healthy products with high level of bioactive
compounds. Consumers are increasingly interested in eco-friendly
food products from sustainable cropping systems characterised by
low input and reduce chemical consumption with agro-ecology and
the use of bio-stimulants. The implementation of micro-propagation
systems, grafting, introduction of hybrid cultivars in annual cycle
are commonly applied in developed countries, where there are
nursery techniques and technological equipment. In developing
countries the main goal of growers is to improve the profitability of
production, and vegetative propagation is still the most widely used
technique. The globe artichoke is a perennial plant belonging to the
Asteraceae family. Morphology and physiology of this species
provide a good adaptation to hot and arid Mediterranean
environment (Sonnante et al., 2007), as well as a related cardoon,
which can be cultivated in similar areas as a source of cellulose
obtained from the stems, oil and protein from the achenes and inulin
from roots (Ottaiano et al., 2017). According to Mauro et al. (2015)
Cynara cardunculus L. genotypes are valuable source of renewable
energy under low costs in term of soil management. The edible part
of the globe artichoke is the inflorescence – flower head forming at
the top of the main stem and on the lateral shoots, composed of
involucral bracts surrounding a fleshy base known as the heart, a
natural source of minerals, fibre, inulin and polyphenols with very
little fat content. According to Lutz et al. (2011) cooking process
increased the content of total phenolics especially in baby globe
artichoke heads. Total phenolic contents of approximately 1.2%
(w/w) on a dry matter basis revealed that globe artichoke pomace
is a promising source of phenolic compounds that might be
recovered and used as natural antioxidants or functional food
ingredients (Lattanzio et al., 2009). The globe artichoke is popular
for its pleasant bitter taste which is attributed mostly to a
phytochemical called cynarin found in the green parts of the plant.
Cynarin (1,3-O-dicaffeoylquinic acid) is considered one of globe
artichoke’s main biologically active chemicals. It occurs in the
highest concentration in the leaves of the plant, which is why leaf
extracts are most commonly employed in herbal medicine. Phenolic
composition has medicinal value since it has antihepatotoxic,
choleretic, diuretic, hypocholesterolemic and antilipidemic
properties. Other documented active chemicals include flavonoids,
sesquiterpene lactones, polyphenols and other caffeoylquinic acids
(Fratianni et al., 2007; Sharaf-Eldin et al., 2007; Lombardo et al.,
2010). According to Lombardo et al. (2009) the highest total
polyphenols content is connected with the floral stem and receptacle
regardless of genotype of plant. Additionally synthesis of these
compounds is more intensive in inner than in outer bracts (Pandino
et al., 2012). Shinohara et al. (2011) demonstrated that total
phenolic content was dependent in high degree on water content in
the soil and increased crucially with its deficiency. Globe artichoke
reputation as a functional food as well as a sophisticated ingredient
of Italian cuisine resulted in increased economic value (Lombardo
et al., 2017a). Italy is the richest reserve of globe artichoke
germplasm, representing great differentiation of head morphological
traits, however average consumers are willing to pay price
premiums for fresh, large and green globe artichoke heads as
compared with small and purple ones. Among non-chemical traits,
taste, freshness, and nutrition were considered the top three factors
influencing consumers’ purchasing decisions (Segovia et al., 2016).
Globe artichoke can be cultivated in a perennial or annual cycle,
with the first method being more widespread globally. To fulfil the
consumers requirements, in traditional regions of globe artichoke
production, farmers have to adopt high farming inputs to improve
crop yield and quality. This is possible due to differentiation of
methods of propagation affecting earliness and heads quality. Seed-
propagated cultivars are always late because of the prolonged
juvenility phase (Macua et al., 2011), but growing from seedlings
allows attaining high yield even in regions with short vegetation
period (Sałata et al., 2012). Flexibility in methods of propagation
supplemented with a wider range of seed propagated cultivars and
hybrids as well as modern growing techniques created new regions
of globe artichoke production (Figure 1).
Development of new regions of globe artichoke production is
not always triggered by demands of local markets. The production
is often destined to processing and export, like to China, but there
are some countries where domestic production meets the
consumers’ expectations for fresh product, for example in Poland
or Latvia (Macua, 2007; Sękara et al., 2015; Zeipina et al., 2015).
The potential of globe artichoke, linked to traditional culinary and
medicinal use, as well as to a wide range of modern applications
can bring new opportunities to growers all over the world.
Figure 1. Yield and cultivating area of globe artichoke in the most important production regions in the world (FAO, 2017).
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Methods of propagation
Areas where the temperature does not fall below –10°C in
winter (Welbaum, 1994; Halter et al., 2005) best suit cultivation
requirements of globe artichoke as a perennial, commonly practiced
in the Mediterranean basin (Italy, Spain, France, Greece, Turkey,
Morocco and Tunisia) and in American countries with a relatively
long tradition of globe artichoke growing (USA, Argentina and
Chile) (Garcia et al., 2005; Macua, 2007). Vegetative propagation
with the use of offshoots is the most common in practice, followed
by propagation from underground shoots with apical and lateral
buds, called ovoli in Italy (Morello et al., 2005) and from stumps
(ceppaie). In the USA and some parts of France, the propagation
material is rootstock mechanically divided into several parts,
containing lateral buds from which new plants develop. A routine
practice in France, Spain and Italy is to plant lateral shoots with
fully-developed roots that are separated from the mother plants. At
the same time, in most parts of Italy it is common to plant lateral
shoots with buds that are still in the dormant state. In commercial
perennial crops, depending on the rate of plant development, the
rootstocks are divided and transplanted every 5-10 years (Ryder et
al., 1983; Garcia et al., 2005; Smith et al., 2008).
In terms of the health status of the plants obtained in this
manner, vegetative propagation is quite problematic, as the risk of
transmission of pathogenic fungi, bacteria and viruses is very high.
In Spain, after years of this practice, usually in combination with a
lack of proper crop rotation, a drastic decline in plant health was
observed due to the infection of planting material by Verticillium
spp. (López et al., 2007). Intensive research is currently being
conducted into biological agents that improve the phytosanitary
quality of soil and effectively curb or combat this dangerous
pathogen (Cirulli et al., 2010). Globe artichoke crops are also
threatened by diseases induced by Pythium, Rhizoctonia and Botritis
spp. (López et al., 2007). Riahi et al. (2017) managed the vegetative
propagation techniques to improve plant health state as well as yield
parameters with low cost methods. Authors tested summer ovoli,
spring offshoots nursery’s cuttings forced to pass a vegetative rest
period by stopping irrigation and offshoots nursery’s cuttings not
forced. Forced spring offshoots nursery’s cuttings produced highest
yield and the heaviest primary heads, with highest total antioxidant
capacity and inulin content. Proposed method of vegetative globe
artichoke propagation is a sustainable and low-costs alternative to
the traditional one.
In vitro propagation
The commercial importance of plant tissue culture has grown
in recent years, significantly contributing to crop improvement with
respect to disease elimination (Pandino et al., 2017b).
Micropropagation of globe artichoke is an alternative method for
production of large-scale healthy, high quality and uniform
vegetative material. The use of in vitro propagation of globe
artichoke, as a way of improving its rate of multiplication, was
reported in several studies focused on the medium composition,
growth regulators, genotypes, and the type of explants (Cadinu et
al., 2004; Tavazza et al., 2004; Elia et al., 2007; Grando et al., 2011;
Iapichino, 2013). In vitro propagation of globe artichoke was
primary utilised for a few spring cultivars, but it was more difficult
for autumn ones due to loss of earliness in a significant part of
micropropagated plants (Tavazza et al., 2004). During the last years,
mycorrhizal symbiosis has been used in micropropagated globe
artichoke to increase survival and growth rates of plants by reducing
the stresses related to transplanting (Campanelli et al., 2013; Ruta
et al., 2016). Owing to the new efficient in vitro protocols,
micropropagated cultivars are now widely used in European
countries, where the high cost of planting material has been
compensated by improved field performance complying with the
consumers requirements (Castiglione et al., 2009; Bedini et al.,
2012; Tavazza et al., 2016; El Boullani et al., 2017). At the same
time, this strategy is quite difficult to be implemented in developing
countries because of the high costs, the lack of nurseries for the
in vitro plant production or inadequate timing and techniques of
production (Pandino et al., 2017b; Riahi et al., 2017).
For a number of years a factor limiting the widespread
cultivation of annual globe artichoke crops was the lack of varieties
suitable for an annual cycle that would guarantee balanced yield and
quality of heads (Virdis et al., 2014). As for pathologic and
economic disadvantages of the vegetative multiplication method,
Italian globe artichoke breeding programs make efforts to create
potential seed propagated cultivars. The breeding process encounter
considerable problems with hybrids which are not Mendelian F1
with the uniformity originated from crosses between two pure lines.
Globe artichoke suffers from strong inbreeding depression (Pagnotta
et al., 2016). In 2007, the Italian and USA project started with the
aim to create globe artichoke commercial hybrid seeds through the
use of male sterility (Rey et al., 2016). Around 30 out of 500 crosses
were tested for agro- and morphological traits and uniformity, some
of which were registered, i.e. Romolo. The hybrid uniformity was
recognised as the most important characteristic for quality and
morphological traits. Among new hybrids, Opal F1and Madrigal
F1provided best quality heads for fresh-cut and processing industry
due to high processing yield and low total polyphenol content.
Tempo F1represented a possible source of natural antioxidants for
the food and pharmaceutical industry (Bonasia et al., 2010). Seed-
propagated Istar F1and Romolo F1were evaluated by De Pascale et
al. (2016) with respect to yield, mineral and polyphenolic profiles.
In next investigations (Di Venere et al., 2016), using with Opera,
Opal, Symphony, Madrigal, and Romolo hybrids, Opera and Opal
showed the highest total polyphenol content and antioxidant activity
value. De Nardi et al. (2016) showed qualitative and quantitative
variability among Concert F1, Madrigal F1, Opal F1and Symphony
F1, which allows the producer to choose the most suitable hybrid
for local environmental and market conditions. Globe artichoke
hybrids are characterised by more vigorous, earlier and healthier
plants. These characteristics can be translated into lower input in
plant protection, and more sustainable farming practices reflecting
in growing hybrid popularity in all regions of globe artichoke
production. Peru, Argentina, Egypt, Algeria, Iran and Syria are
reported as countries with the highest productivity achieved by
intensified cultivation of seed propagated hybrids, favourable
climatic conditions as well as long growing season (Macua, 2007).
Grafting could represent an important integrated strategy to
manage Verticilium spp. in globe artichoke growing. Wild and
cultivated cardoon accessions have been tested for resistance to
Verticilium spp. in order to select the most suitable rootstocks
(Ciccarese et al., 2012; Pandozy et al., 2015). Although grafting is
a simple and common treatment, it requires attention, both also to
synchronise the time of sowing of the two bionts to choose the
proper grafting technique (Trinchera et al., 2013). Temperini et al.
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[page 282] [Italian Journal of Agronomy 2018; 13:1252]
(2013) evaluated the performance of grafted globe artichoke into
cultivated cardoon rootstocks, the latter increasing yield and the
Verticillium spp. incidence of globe artichoke, the best grafting
method was the splice grafting technique. Grafting remains a not
pivotal technique, because of high costs and labour requirements.
This method can be a sustainable way for cultivation of high quality
genotypes or in situ maintenance and valorisation of traditional
globe artichoke landraces.
Cover crop and crop rotation
Traditionally, globe artichoke cultivation in the Mediterranean
Basin is based on monoculture and on use of high amounts of
nitrogen fertiliser and this raises issues regarding its compatibility
with sustainable agriculture. De Vos (1992) reported that in
California crop rotation is not popular practice as the most
plantations are perennial. Lenzi et al. (2015) studied the possibility
of using globe artichoke as cash and cover crop in an organic
vegetable system, yield was about 7 t ha–1 of heads and 50.3 t ha–1
of fresh biomass usable as green manure was left after harvest. The
cropping system, also based on the management of soil fertility
through the use of cover crops and rotations, was reported by Spanu
et al. (2017). In this respect, the recovery of soil physical and
chemical quality was achieved by abandoning chemical fertilisers
application, including the fertility building legumes as catch- and
cover crops, planning annual or biannual rotations and ploughing
crop residues into soil. This is an example of successful adoption
of sustainable agronomic practices in the traditional cultivation of
the globe artichoke. Deligios et al. (2017) planned an innovative
cropping system of long-term biannual rotation with cauliflower
coupled with cover crop, which can optimise nutrient fluxes of
conventionally grown globe artichoke. The application of new
sustainable open-field horticultural systems, adapted to local
conditions and crop rotation could be a promising way of reducing
synthetic fertiliser supply and improving the productivity of globe
artichoke in many regions of cultivation.
To enhance globe artichoke yield and survival of plants
mulching of field is recommended. For this purpose black plastic is
the most often used material (Welbaum, 1994). According to
Bratsch (2014) better yield was achieved on irrigated beds covered
with black plastic mulch, where the average weight of heads was
7% higher than in the control (bare ground). Similar increase (by
9%) of marketable yield of heads was achieved by Leskovar et al.
(2013) as a result of mulching with black plastic, and marketable
yield stated as early was higher by 29%. In order to determine the
overwintering capacity of artichoke rootstock after harvesting of
heads, Rangarajan et al. (2000) mulched plants (trimmed 15 cm
above the soil surface) with a 15 cm layer of straw the above-ground
part of the plants, but they found that 100% of the plants were frozen
during winter. Mulching can be successive applied in artichoke
production, moreover the investigation of the effectiveness of
biodegradable mulches can lead to environmental friendly solutions
in this respect.
Fertilisation is the most important factor affecting artichoke
yield quality and quantity, but the precise recommendations depend
on the soil and climatic conditions, cultivar, and growing
technologies (Pomares et al., 2004; Feleafel, 2005; Elia and
Conversa, 2007; Rincón et al., 2007; Negro et al., 2016). Lombardo
et al. (2017b) showed that N feritilisation significantly influenced
the quality and shelf life of fresh globe artichoke heads in terms of
physiological, nutritional and microbiological properties. Globe
artichoke is usually cultivated on a wide range of soils, often
characterised by poor N content, and therefore N is considered by
growers as an essential element for improving crop growth,
earliness and yield. In practice, N fertiliser rates reach up to 700 kg
ha–1, causing unnecessary increase of environmental and social
hazard (Lombardo et al., 2017b). According to Ierna et al. (2006)
and Ierna et al. (2012), the yield and quality of the globe artichoke
crop, as well as balanced N fertilisation, are fundamentally
influenced by N/P ratio. Ierna et al. (2012) reported that increasing
P application from 50 to 150 kg P2O5allowed N application to be
reduced from 450 to 300 kg ha–1, concurrently increasing the
productivity index. Paradiso et al. (2007) obtained the best earliness
and highest yield using 200 kg ha–1 N for spring globe artichoke
production in Salerno region, Italy. Similarly, Lombardo et al.
(2017b) identified 200 kg ha–1 N as the optimal dose for obtaining
minimally processed globe artichoke heads with good nutritional,
sensory and microbiological quality. According to Pandino et al.
(2011) a standard doses of fertilisers are as follows: 200 kg N, 80
kg P2O5and 100 kg K2O per ha, when irrigation is applied.
Shinohara et al. (2011) estimated that 700 mm (for a bare soil
system) water inputs and maximum 120 kg ha–1 N appear sufficient
to obtain high marketable yields, superior size and nutritional head
quality of globe artichokes. Lower irrigation enhanced phenolic
content but reduced marketable yield and head size. The negative
correlation between N fertilisation and polyphenols content should
be considered as a disadvantage from the side of healthy food.
Simultaneously, polyphenols increase enzymatic browning
phenomena, so managing the content of these compounds through
balanced fertilisation can affect the external attractiveness and shelf-
life of globe artichoke heads.
On perennial plantations in California standard mineral rates are
168-336 kg N, 24-48 kg P and 28-93 kg K per ha each year, while
in France, recommended N dose ranges between 150-280 kg ha–1
(Ryder et al., 1983). P, K and a first dose of N are applied at the end
of the harvesting season, after cutting down the plants. The second
dose of N is applied as top dressing, in 2 or 3 applications together
with irrigation. Of two analysed ammonium nitrate rates (200 and
400 kg ha–1; 26%, applied with 210 kg P2O5and 180 kg K2O ha–1,
the first was proved to be more beneficial in terms of obtaining a
good quality crop for processing (Lombardo et al., 2017b). Feleafel
(2005) showed that of four ammonium sulphate rates (60, 90, 120
and 150 kg ha–1, 20.5% N), the last had the greatest effect on the
yield (from 0.69 to 1.04 kg of heads per a plant). Additionally,
perennial plantations are also fertilised with manure at a rate of 22
t ha–1, with the main purpose of enriching the soil with organic
matter (De Vos, 1992). In order to reduce the dose of nitrogen
fertilisers, using of mineral-organic fertilisers is proposed (Ierna and
Water shortages are a growing problem in many areas where
globe artichokes are traditionally grown. In the Mediterranean
Basin, ovoli planted in August are exposed to unfavourable water
conditions associated with high temperatures and low relative
humidity, which in the absence of irrigation often cause significant
crop losses. Additionally deficiency of water results in physiological
disorder, called black tip, that causes bracts to become dark (Smith
et al., 2008). In Spain, yield and number of heads increased with
increasing sprinkler irrigation up to 630 mm (Macua et al., 2005).
In order to improve the adverse climatic conditions, mist irrigation
was proposed in addition to standard crop irrigation to increase
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marketable yield on average by 28% as compared to not misted
plants (Mauro et al., 2008). Shinohara et al. (2011) achieved a
significant increase in yield using irrigation at 100% of
evapotranspiration (ETc), as compared to 50% ETc. In some
countries, adequately treated wastewater can be used for irrigation
as a valid alternative to conventional water resources (Gatta et al.,
2016). De Vos (1992) stated that in the major artichoke-growing
regions in California, irrigation is applied 3-5 times in the amount
of 80-100 mm, supplementing the natural precipitation that usually
falls between November and April in the amount of 300-500 mm.
For perennial plantations irrigation starts at the beginning of new
growing cycle, about 30 days after plants are cut back (Smith et al.,
2008). Use of tensiometers is recommended to avoid over-irrigation
which is especially dangerous on heavy soils (Bratsch, 2014). Along
the Central Coast of California, USA, during the summer, the plants
are sprinkled at 2-3-week intervals, or one-week intervals when a
drip system is used (Shinohara et al., 2011). Drip irrigation allows
for a 25% reduction in water consumption in the case of cultivation
on loamy soils (Smith et al., 2008). According to López et al.
(2007), water consumption is 7-8 thousand m3per year per ha in
the case of drip irrigation, and 10-11 thousand m3 using the sprinkler
system. Comparing irrigation methods for globe artichoke in
Tunisia, water use efficiency was 30% higher with drip than furrow
irrigation, and reflected in a higher number of heads (Mansour et
al., 2005). Garcia et al. (2016) demonstrated that irrigation allows
to increase the content of antioxidant compounds, principally
phenols, in leaves and inflorescences of globe artichoke. Plants
respond positively to increased humidity, so in many areas the crop
requires irrigation, with drip irrigation being the most efficient.
Additional benefit from drip irrigation in combination with precise
mineral application is the reduction of fertilisers used to improve
crop growth, earliness and high quality yield.
Inflorescence shoots formation
Seed propagated globe artichoke has a long vegetation period
enabling autumn harvest, since September, when the market price
is highest. Treating plants with gibberellic acid (GA3) is one of the
recommended methods for stimulating plants to produce
inflorescences earlier. Mauromicale and Ierna (1995) reported that
correct combination between sowing date and GA3enabled
uninterrupted harvesting of seed-grown Orlando F1from end of
October to mid-May. The total yield at the end of cycle was
significantly higher in comparison with the most popular Italian
cultivar Violetto di Sicilia. Dumičic et al. (2009) showed that double
spraying of Imperial Star plants with GA3resulted in significant
increase in both main and lateral flower heads number per unit area,
as well as in higher early yield. It was interesting that 45% of plants
whose planting was delayed by one month with respect to the typical
planting date (16 June) produced inflorescence shoots only when
treated with GA3. Notably, the recommended concentration of GA3
is 20-60 mg L–1, depending on the cultivar (El-Abagy et al., 2010;
Bratsch, 2014). Plants respond to the correct dose of GA3with a
more erected plant habit and a light green colour of the youngest
leaves (López et al., 2007). Yield can also be increased by treating
plants with other chemicals, as demonstrated in studies by El-Zohiri
(2009), who achieved a significant increase in the head yield per
unit area by spraying the plants with salicylic and ascorbic acid in
concentration of 50 mg L–1. Mauromicale and Ierna (1995)
demonstrated that it is possible to force yielding in the winter season
by applying GA32 or 3 times during the vegetation period for seed-
grown cultivars. In Polish conditions, spraying of globe artichoke
plants with GA3, in annual cultivation from seedlings, resulted in
accelerating the formation of inflorescence shoots by 45 days as
compared to control plants, and significantly increased the yield of
heads (Sałata et al., 2013).
The floral induction by plants requires a temperature of 0-15°C,
though the process is fastest at 2-7°C, continuing for a period of 2-
4 weeks (Wiebe, 1989). The vernalisation takes place naturally in
winter in perennial plantations, and in spring in annual crops grown
from seedlings (Dumičic et al., 2009). Planting of seedlings is
therefore recommended one or two weeks after the last local spring
frosts. However, that high summer temperatures can offset the
vernalisation effect of plants, which may result in a small number
of plants forming buds, although new varieties, such as Imperial
and Emerald, appear to be resistant to devernalisation (Bratsch,
2014). The effect of low temperature on globe artichoke plants in
the juvenile stage largely depends on the cultivar. Indeed, Kim et
al. (2013) demonstrated that the treatment of Imperial Star seedlings
with a temperature of 6°C initiated the formation of inflorescences
in 63% of plants, while 9°C most efficiently initiated the generative
phase in Green Globe, with 28% of plants producing inflorescences.
Other authors (Rangarajan et al., 2000) recommended chilling globe
artichoke seedlings before planting on a permanent site, also
reporting that the initiation of the inflorescence shoot depended on
the length of the cooling period and on the cultivar. Virdis et al.
(2009) showed that the period of vernalisation should be longer for
late, seed propagated cultivars as compared to early ones. Garcia
and Cointry (2010) proposed cold treatment of seedlings at the two
expanded-leaf stage as an effective method to increase globe
artichoke yields. Welbaum (1994) showed that after 204 hours of
cooling with temperature below 10°C, inflorescence shoots
appeared at 83% of Imperial Star plants and only 25% of Green
Globe, however they appeared nearly on all plants of both cultivars
only after 1356 hours. Control chilling of globe artichoke seedlings
can be an environmentally friendly, low cost and simple method for
controlling generative stage induction in globe artichoke, but the
application of this method needs future investigations.
In the experiment conducted by Rangarajan et al. (2000) in
upstate New York, Green Globe Improved and Imperial Star
seedlings were treated with a temperature of 13°C for 19 and 6 days,
with light irradiance of 300-350 µmol m–2 s–1 for 14 h a day, before
being planted on a permanent site. The control plants were kept at
temperature 24/18.5°C (day/night). The early yield of the chilled
plants was 2.5 times higher than for the non-chilled ones, and the
marketable yield was nearly 1.5 times higher. To obtain a high
marketable yield, the authors recommended planting seedlings in
the early days of May, when the plants are cooled naturally or
cooling them before planting on a permanent site. The initiation of
the inflorescence shoot depended on the length of the cooling period
and on the cultivar.
Less practiced method increasing number of inflorescence
shoots of globe artichoke is decapitation of the plants by removing
the apex of the main stem. A study by Feleafel (2005) demonstrated
that mentioned treatment, performed three months after planting of
divided rootstock, resulted in the production of more lateral shoots,
which contributed to a significant increase in yield per plant (8.5-
14% as compared with the control).
Diseases and pests
One of the greatest threats to the globe artichoke plantation
worldwide is verticillium wilt, a soil-borne disease caused by
Verticillium dahliae Kleb. (Acquardo et al., 2010; Cirulli et al.,
2010; Bratsch, 2014). The process of combating this disease is very
complex and requires multi-faceted preventive measures, such as
the use of healthy seed or planting material, the use of cultivars that
are fully or partially resistant, careful preparation of the cultivation
[Italian Journal of Agronomy 2018; 13:1252] [page 283]
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site through implementation of crop rotation principles, and, where
possible, soil solarisation. Intensive research is currently being
conducted into biological agents that improve the phytosanitary
quality of soil and effectively curb or combat this dangerous
pathogen (Cirulli et al., 2010). Artichoke crops are also threatened
by diseases induced by Pythium, Rhizoctonia and Botritis spp.
(López et al., 2007). Other diseases that may affect globe artichoke
plants include Powdery mildew and wilt caused by Pythium spp.,
while among insects, aphids and spider mites pose the greatest threat
(Bratsch, 2014). A physiological disorder manifested as darkening
of the leaves of the involucral bracts may appear as well, due to
calcium deficiency that increases probability of infections caused
by Erwinia and Botritis spp (Francois et al., 1991).
Around 60% of world production of globe artichokes heads is
directed to the fresh market. Generally, the standard weight of heads
ranges between 200-500 g (up to 700 g), but often smaller ones can
be found (weighing 150-200 g). Heads are sold with a peduncle 4-
6 cm long (Macua, 2007). Also agro-industry such as canning and
freesing is greatly interested in this crop (Macua et al., 2011).
Globe artichoke heads should be harvested when they have
reached maximum size but their generative development is not too
advanced. A good indicator of maturity is the lower leaves of the
involucral bracts, which should be slightly inclined, although this
is not clearly visible in all cultivars as well as change in the colour
of bracts (less bright green) (Bratsch, 2014). In California, heads
are harvested regularly every 5 days, and it is estimated that more
than 30 harvests are carried out in one crop over the entire season
(De Vos, 1992).
Among 100 globe artichoke cultivars, there are types producing
inflorescence shoots from autumn to spring and only in spring
(Mauromicale et al., 2018). According to Acquadro et al. (2010)
early cultivars are harvested from autumn to spring.
The variation in planting dates ensures continuity in the supply
of raw material to the fresh vegetable market at local and global
scale (Table 1). Spring production of globe artichoke in northern
and central Italy derives from perennial crops that may last up to 6-
8 years; for autumn-to-spring production in south regions, annual
or biennial cycles are adopted, and seed-propagated cultivars are
usually grown under annual cycle (Lenzi et al., 2015). Depending
on the country and even the region, the head harvesting season for
early varieties begins in October or November, except in Egypt
(December), lasts until December, and continues from January to
May in the following year. In northern France, harvesting is done
between mid-May and mid-September, which complements the
southern region in ensuring continuous supply of fresh material to
the market throughout the year. For Tunisian growers earliness is
one of the most important factors for the production, and it is
directly linked to the export period (Riahi et al., 2017).
In northern France, harvest is performed between mid-May and
mid-September, which complements the southern region in ensuring
continuous supply of fresh heads to the market throughout the year.
In this country, planting ovoli in spring allows to obtain the first
harvest in August in the first year of cultivation, and in June in the
second year. In Italy, harvest period lasts usually from October to
May, but may start in September in case of the early varieties grown
in perennial plantations. In the USA, when the plants are
transplanted to the field in early spring, the first harvest can be done
in the autumn of the same year. In the following year, 75-80% of
plants are cut back in May to provide heads from September to May,
and remaining plants are cut between August and September what
allows gathered yield in the summer in the next year (Macua, 2007).
In the southern hemisphere (Argentina, Chile and Peru), the globe
artichoke is usually planted between January and April and from July
to December, depending on the country and region. In Argentina and
Chile, harvesting of heads begins in April or May and lasts until
November or December. On the Peruvian coast, the harvesting period
runs from mid-July to November, while in the mountainous regions
of Peru it lasts from mid-October to mid-May of the following year
(Macua, 2007). Globe artichoke yield ranges from 8 to 17 t ha–1,
depending on the cultivation method, fertiliser application rates, and
cultivar, but yields above 20 t ha–1 have been recorded as well (Pesti
et al., 2004; Shinohara et al., 2011; Ierna et al., 2012). According to
Pesti et al. (2004), in case of annual cultivation in Hungary, higher
yield can be achieved by early sowing - at the beginning of March.
Leskovar et al. (2013) report that the mean yield of this vegetable in
the USA is 14.5 t ha–1. In Tunisia, farmers produce cuttings by
themselves, in inappropriate conditions and as a consequence the
average yield of globe artichoke has never exceeded 7 t ha–1 during
the last years (Riahi et al., 2017).
The ways of using the globe artichoke head depend on the scale
of production and on the culinary traditions of individual countries.
Globe artichokes are mainly eaten fresh, but they can also be frozen
or canned (Lattanzio et al., 2009; Costabile et al., 2010). With
regard to storability, the globe artichoke is a perishable vegetable
and, in order to maintain the high quality of the heads during
marketing, they should be cooled as soon as possible after harvest.
At a temperature of 0-1°C and relative humidity of 90-95%, globe
artichokes can be stored for 3 to 4 weeks (Bratsch, 2014). Pre-
cooling to a temperature below 5°C is practiced usually through
hydro cooling, but room-cooling is possible as well (De Vos, 1992).
In the USA heads are usually, graded by size and quality and packed
in the field in waxed fibreboard cartoons (Smith et al., 2008). Even
using pre-cooling and cold storage, globe artichoke have limited
storability; in this respect, significant improvements have been
achieved by using propylene films, modified atmosphere packaging,
or oxalic acid (Gil-Izquierdo et al., 2001; Gil-Izquierdo et al., 2002;
Alexopoulos et al., 2003; Leroy et al., 2010; Ruíz-Jiménez et al.,
2014). Restuccia et al. (2014) found that pathogenic microbes could
be significantly reduced through water ozonation and by ozone
enrichment of the atmosphere in the storage chamber. Additionally
Lombardo et al. (2015) reported that pre-treatment of globe
artichokes with ozonised water and storage them for three days in
cooling chambers in ozone-enriched increased in certain cultivars
(e.g. Violet de Provence) the total polyphenols content and the level
of antioxidant activity. High respiratory activity of globe artichoke
heads requires the use of innovative techniques for reduction of
respiration, postharvest pathogen infection, and microbial spoilage
to extend the shelf life and preserve heads quality.
In recent years, the sector of minimally processed, convenience
and pro-health food has grown rapidly in developed European
countries. Globe artichoke hearts are not good raw material in this
field due to high respiratory activity, and rapid biochemical and
enzymatic damage. In view of particular developments of the modern
market, some investigations were performed to prolong the shelf-life
of ready-to-eat globe artichoke without decreasing its market
performance as well as biological quality. Lombardo et al. (2017b)
reported that N fertilisation at 200 kg ha–1 is suitable for obtaining
minimally processed globe artichoke heads with good nutritional,
sensory and microbiological quality. Moreover, the mentioned N-
fertilisation provided a higher inulin and similar ascorbic acid level
in heads stored for 8 and 12 days, as compared to unfertilised control.
N fertilisation seems to be a possible way for managing enzymatic
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IJA-2018_4.qxp_Hrev_master 16/11/18 11:13 Pagina 284
Non-commercial use only
browning through inhibitory effect on polyphenol synthesis.
Minimally processed globe artichoke slices maintained high
nutritional quality and colour parameters at least for 7 days of storage,
although significant differences depended on genotype, harvest and
storage time (Pandino et al., 2017a). The average shelf life of fresh
ready-to-eat globe artichoke could be effectively increased to 12-15
days by vacuum impregnation techniques, modified atmosphere
packaging, and low storage temperature (Garcia-Martinez et al.,
2017). Sergio et al. (2016) used the innovative product semi-dried
artichoke hearts for investigating storage linked properties. Authors
stated that semi-dried globe artichoke, packaged in MA (70% N2, 30%
CO2) could be stored for more than 30 days in refrigerated conditions.
Such by-product could have great market value due to the possibility
of preserving its postharvest performance for a very long time. The
investigations of pro-health methods for prolonging globe artichoke
shelf-life involved also natural substances. Muratore et al. (2015)
demonstrated the effectiveness of the micro- and non-perforated films
to reduce microbial growth and enhance the total polyphenol content,
especially for the heads treated with the anti-browning solution of
ascorbic and citric acid. Oxalic acid pre-harvest treatment reduced
respiration rate and increased antioxidant activity and phenols content
in globe artichoke heads (Martínez-Esplá et al., 2017). The latter
could be a natural and useful tool to delay the globe artichoke
postharvest senescence and improve health-beneficial properties.
[Italian Journal of Agronomy 2018; 13:1252] [page 285]
Table 1. Regional specificity of annual and perennial artichoke production.
Country Planting period Harvesting Cultivars Source
Vegetative propagation and perennial cultivation*
Central Italy Spring-Autumn (ovoli) Feb-Apr Romanesco, Violetto di Toscana, Cardarelli et al., 2005;
Catanese, Violetto di Provenza Macua, 2007;
Ciancolini et al., 2012
Southern Italy Spring-Autumn (ovoli) Sep-May Brindisino, Spinoso Sardo, Cardarelli et al., 2005;
Violetto di Sicilia Macua, 2007;
Spanu et al., 2017
Spain Jun-Aug (stalks) Oct-May Blanca de Tudela Macua, 2007;
Lanteri and Portis, 2008
Greece Jun-Aug (stalks) Oct-May Blanca de Tudela Macua, 2007;
Lanteri and Portis, 2008
France Spring (ovoli) 1st year: Aug-Nov; 2nd: Camus de Bretagne, Violet de Macua, 2007;
from June; 3rd: from May Provence, Violet de Hyères Lanteri and Portis, 2008
Tunisia Aug-Sep (ovoli) Nov-Jan Violet de Hyères Riahi et al., 2017
Turkey Aug-Sep Nov-Jan Bayrampaşa, Macua, 2007
Argentina Jan-May May-Nov Blanco de San Juan, Francés Precoz, Garcia et al., 2005
Ñato, Precoz Italiano,
USA Spring Sep-Dec Green Globe, Desert Globe Ryder et al., 1983
Southern Italy Sept-Nov Apr-May Istar F1, Madrigal F1, Bonasia et al., 2010;
Opal F1, Romolo F1, Tempo F1 De Pascale et al., 2016;
Rouphael et al., 2017
Algeria Jul-Aug Oct-Nov Macua, 2007
Spain Jul-Aug Oct-Nov Macua, 2007
Greece Jul-Aug Oct-Nov Macua, 2007
Egypt Aug-Oct Dec-May Green Globe, Imperial Star Macua, 2007
Iran Apr-May Sept Local ecotypes Hosseinzadeh et al., 2013
Turkey Jul-Aug Jan A-106, A-109, Green Globe, Opal F1 Temirkaynak et al., 2008
Central and May July-Sept Concerto F1, Imperial Star, Madrigal F1 Pesti et al., 2004;
Eastern Europe Halter et al., 2005;
Sałata et al., 2012
China Oct-Nov March-Jun A-106, Imperial Star, Lorca Macua, 2007
Argentina Jun March A-106, Imperial Star, Lorca, Macua, 2007; Pomés et al., 2016
Madrigal F1, Opal F1
USA Jun-Aug Nov-Apr Early Emerald Pro, Emerald, De Vos, 1992;
Imperial Star, Madrigal F1, Schrader and Mayberry, 1992
Opal F1, Tempo F1
*For vegetative propagation, planting period reflects the period of plantation establishment.
IJA-2018_4.qxp_Hrev_master 16/11/18 11:13 Pagina 285
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[page 286] [Italian Journal of Agronomy 2018; 13:1252]
Nowadays, globe artichoke is more and more popular and
desired by consumers all over the world for its taste and pro-healthy
properties. For this reason is successfully grown in many regions
of the world in both hemispheres. The vegetative propagation,
dominating in many countries, is problematic in terms of the health
status of plants, due to risk of transmission of pathogens. To avoid
this problem different approaches are proposed. One of them is
using of summer ovoli and spring offshoots nursery’s cutting which
are considered as more sustainable and less-costs method in
comparison with the traditional one. In vitro propagation can be
considered as an alternative way for production of healthy, high
quality and uniform vegetative material on the large scale; very
efficient but also expensive and addressed to developed countries.
Commercial hybrids, which can give yield within one vegetation
season, are more and more popular in many countries and are the
good solution for regions with severe winters, where establishing
plantations cultivated for many years is impossible. Hybrid
cultivars, as Concert, Madrigal, Opal, or Symphony are vigorous,
early and healthy which yielding on the same level as plants
propagated by the vegetative methods. Grafting of globe artichoke
into cultivated cardoon rootstocks allows increasing yield and
decreasing Verticillium incidence, but high costs and labour
requirements mean that is not used on the massive scale.
The most important factor affecting artichoke yield quality and
quantity is fertilisation, which depend on the soil and climatic
conditions, cultivar, and growing technologies. Globe artichoke is
usually cultivated on a wide range of soils, often characterised by
poor N content, and therefore N is considered by growers as an
essential element for improving crop growth, earliness and quantity
of yield. Water shortages are a growing problem in many areas
where artichokes are traditionally grown. Drip irrigation allows for
a 25% reduction in water consumption in the case of cultivation on
loamy soils. Reproductive phase induction is depended on prior
vernalisation (cooling), which takes place naturally in the winter in
perennial plantations, and in the spring in annual crops, grown from
seedlings. The treatment with the growth regulators is practiced as
well to reduce the number of non-productive plants. Harvest of
globe artichoke heads should be done when they have reached
maximum size but their generative development is not too
advanced. The yield ranges usually from 8 to 17 t ha–1, depending
on the cultivation method, fertiliser rates, and cultivar. With regard
to storability, the globe artichoke is a perishable vegetable. In order
to maintain the high quality during marketing, heads should be pre-
cooled as soon as possible after harvest (one of a routine practise is
cooling in cold water to 5°C). The duration of cooling process
largely depends on the size of the heads. The optimum conditions
which allow to store globe artichoke for 3-4 weeks are a temperature
of 0-1°C and relative humidity of 90-95%. To enhance the duration
of storability of globe artichoke heads, the use of propylene films,
modified atmosphere packaging, or oxalic acid is recommended.
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