To prospect the local varieties of Cynara cardunculus in different places in the Mediterranean area.
To determine the best culture conditions of this species in order to improve the quantity and quality of final biomass. To study the potential utilization of this species as a source of biomass for: paper pulp, oil, protein, solid fuel and green forage.
Cynara cardunculus L (C cardunculus) is a perennial herbaceous species that is traditionally cultivated in several locations Mediterranean area where the petioles of lower leaves are used for human food and the staments filaments for milk clotting. The vegetative cycle takes only a few months in the traditional cultivation of these species. The good adaptation of this species to grow in the climate and soil conditions of the Mediterranean area suggests the possiblity of its cultivation as a source of raw materials. Utilization of its biomass could be made as follows: seeds can be used as an oil source as they contain about 22 per cent crude fat; aerial biomass of rosette leaves can be used as green fodder in winter; lignocellulosic biomass of the aerial part can be used to produce paper, solid fuel or ethanol after an hydrolysis.
The objectives of the project are: to prospect the local varieties of the species in order to obtain material for further genetic selection; determination of the best culture conditions in order to improve the quantity and quality of the total biomass produced; to study the possiblity of improving the yield and chemical characteristics of the biomass by biotechnology; and to study the potential utilization of the C cardunculus biomass.
Cynara cardunculus L. (Spanish artichoke thistle) is a perennial herbaceous species that is traditionally cultivated in some places of the Mediterranean area to use the petioles of lower leaves for human food, and the staments filaments for milk clotting. In the traditional cultivation of these species, the vegetative cycle takes only a few months, being harvested the rosette leaves at the end of autumn, after they have been etiolated. In the natural cycles of this plant, the stalk starts to elongate in spring. In summer, a corymb type cyme is produced at the top of stalk, with globose spiny capitula that contain many seeds. During the summer the aerial part of the plant is getting dry, natural dissemination taking place in August and September. The remaining underground plant does not die and at the beginning of the autumn leaves sprout, forming a rosette during the winter and continuing the cycle until next summer. The natural sprouting of the plant occurs for several years.
1) Prospecting for wild genotypes. Seeds from local C. cardunculus ecotypes will be harvested in different places of the Mediterranean area and tested for productivity in the experimental fields of the coordinator laboratory (ETSIA UPM Spain).
2) Productivity trials. This part of the project will be performed in four Mediterranean countries: Greece, Italy, Portugal and Spain. Different treatments on planting density and top N fertilization will be considered. At the end of each growing period, the following determination will be carried out: a) Forage potential of leaves harvested in winter. b) Chemical composition of seeds, paying special attention to oil and protein content. c) Chemical composition of dried stalks (fibre content).
3) Paper making potential of C. cardunculus biomass. This part of the project will be carried out at the Hamburg University (Ordinariat fur Holztechnologie) with the raw material produced in the Spanish cultivations.
Funding SchemeCSC - Cost-sharing contracts
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