CRYOTHERAPY: A NEW TOOL FOR THE ELIMINATION OF ARTICHOKE VIRUSES
A. Taglienti, A. Tiberini, M. Barba
Globe artichoke (Cynara scolymus L.) is a highly valuable vegetable crop characterized by a broad diversity of ecotypes that need preservation to avoid genetic erosion. This species is affected by many viruses which cause significant economic losses, thus virus-free planting material is essential for its sustainable production. Cryogenic techniques are one option for the long-term storage of germplasm (cryopreservation) and virus eradication (cryotherapy). In order to achieve these two objectives, vitrification was applied to artichoke ecotypes selected from several Italian regions. A protocol was established to obtain high regeneration rates of early ecotypes after liquid nitrogen treatment. Cryogenic treatment successfully eliminated Artichoke latent virus (ALV) from infected shoot tips with high frequency. Sanitized shoot tips regenerated plantlets that maintained their virus-free status over time and were micropropagated for successful transfer to the field.