Effects of Mesotrione on Perennial Ryegrass (Lolium perenne L.) Carotenoid Concentrations under Varying Environmental Conditions

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Mesotrione is a carotenoid biosynthesis inhibiting herbicide, which is being evaluated for use in turfgrass. Carotenoids are important light harvesting and photoprotecting pigments that dissipate and quench excess light energy. The effects of mesotrione on carotenoid concentrations in turf and weed species, such as perennial ryegrass (Lolium perenne L.), are poorly understood. Mesotrione injury to perennial ryegrass has been reported, and symptomology may differ due to postapplication environmental factors such as irradiance and temperature. Research was conducted to investigate the effects of mesotrione on perennial ryegrass under varying irradiance (600, 1100, or 1600 μmol/m2/s) at three different temperatures (18, 26, and 34 °C). Postapplication irradiance and temperature levels did not affect visual injury symptoms in perennial ryegrass. Bleaching of treated plants was highest 7 days after treatment (DAT; 8%) and recovered to nontreated levels by 21 DAT. Mesotrione applications did not decrease perennial ryegrass foliar biomass accumulations. Carotenoid concentrations of nontreated plants were similar to those reported in creeping bentgrass and many green leafy vegetable crops. However, chlorophyll a and b, β-carotene, lutein, and violaxanthin concentrations decreased due to mesotrione applications, while phytoene and zeaxanthin, a photoprotecting carotenoid, increased. The photochemical efficiency (Fv/Fm) of treated plants was lower than nontreated plants at 3 and 7 DAT; however, treated plants recovered to nontreated levels 21 DAT. Results indicate that postapplication irradiance and temperature levels may not affect mesotrione efficacy in perennial ryegrass. Preferential accumulation of zeaxanthin following mesotrione applications may be a stress-related response, which may reduce light harvesting complex size and directly quench excess light energy.

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