Productionof Jerusalem Artichoke Hybrids Under Irrigation Using Urban Wastewater

ReportNo WSAA 63

July 1993




Jerusalemartichoke is comparatively new and is not being widely grown in Australia.There is very little known of the crop’s adaptability to grow and produce underdiverse climatic and growing conditions. The plant has been identified ashaving many important characteristics which makes it a potentially valuablecrop in many respects viz: high biomass production with large carbohydrate (storesin the form of inulin – an easily fermentable substrate) content, ability togrow and produce under relatively high nutrient loads etc.


Atpresent in Australia, as elsewhere, there has been considerable interest forland disposal of wastewater/effluent instead of the traditional ways ofdischarging it into waterways of rivers and ocean systems. Crops, pastures andtrees are being experimented on with irrigation using wastewater/effluent.


Thisresearch project was to explore the potential for growing artichoke hybridsunder wastewater irrigation with the temperate climatic conditions at Werribee,South Western region of Victoria.


Severalartichoke cultivars were grown on a 1.5 ha site at the Melbourne Water –Werribee farm during summer 1991-92. Measurements of yield and carbohydratecontent of tops and tubers were made on composite plant samples taken atfrequent intervals during the growing season.


Thestudy found that artichoke can be grown successfully in cooler climatic regionslike Werribee. The plants suffered little or no ill effects due to wastewaterirrigation. The biomass yields (tops and tubers) recorded in this experimentare equal and in many cases higher than those obtained for crops grownelsewhere under more favourable conditions.


Comparedto commercial cultivar (CV1) hybrids tended to produce large yields of bothtops and tubers. The carbohydrate content (glucose, fructose and inulin) inboth tops and tubers was also high in most hybrids.


Thestudy identifies the desirability of land disposal of wastewater by irrigatingcrops. Substantial savings/profits can be made in wastewater management bygrowing crops like artichoke which has the potential for the commercialproduction of many value added products.


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