Statistical optimization of the factors affecting xylanase production by Aureobasidium pullulans NRRL Y-2311-1 on globe artichoke stem was performed for the first time. The optimization strategies used resulted in almost six-fold enhancement of xylanase production (66.48U/ml). Biochemical and thermal characterization of the crude xylanase preparation was performed to elucidate its feasibility for different industrial applications. The optimum conditions for xylanase activity were pH 4.0 and 30-50 degrees C. The enzyme was very stable over a wide pH range of 3.0-8.0. The thermal stability studies revealed an inactivation energy of 183kJ/mol. Thermodynamic parameters (enthalpy, entropy, and Gibbs free energy) for thermal inactivation were also determined. Primary application of the crude xylanase preparation in saccharification of corn cob subjected to different pretreatment techniques has been evaluated. The crude xylanase preparation was very promising for saccharification of corn cob pretreated with aqueous ammonia. The maximum yield of reducing sugar was 357mg/g dry substrate, which revealed that the crude xylanase from A. pullulans could be a very good alternative in saccharification of lignocellulosic biomass for biological fuel generation. This study also provides a basis for further exploitation of globe artichoke by-products in microbial production of several other industrially significant metabolites.