Life Cycle Assessment interpretation and improvement of the Sicilian artichokes production

Agata Lo Giudice, C. Mbohwa, M. T. Clasadonte, C. Ingrao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)


This paper presents the results obtained from the Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) of the production of Sicilian artichokes (Cynara scolymus) with the aim of reducing impacts, interpreting the results, suggesting possible improvements and enriching the sustainability knowledge already existing in the agro food field. Artichokes represent one of the excellent Italian agricultural products even if still not well-known and not appreciated despite their nutritional and functional quality. According to FAOSTAT (2013) data, Italy is the world leader in artichokes production, grown mainly in the central and southern regions of Italy, in particular in Sicily, Apulia and Sardinia. In particular, among all the Italian regions, Sicily, which is highly suited for this type of cultivation, is ranked first in terms of quantity produced: the reason for this lies in the excellent combination of climate and geological conformation of the soils. The study was conducted in accordance with the ISO standards 14040 and 14044 (2006), with the functional unit of 1 ha of land and, as the system boundaries being the phases of: pre-implantation preparation of the field; artichoke implantation; and harvesting. The most impacting phases are those related with the consumption of fuel and fertilizers as well as with the use of the PVC pipes for irrigation. Possible improvements could be the use of methanol instead of the naphtha (reduction of the total damage of about 13%) and the possibility of recycling the PVC pipes once the field is dismantled (furthermore reduction of the damage of about 3%).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)305-316
Number of pages12
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • Agri-food field
  • Artichokes
  • Environmental hotspots
  • Life cycle assessment
  • Sicily

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Environmental Science


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