Ultraviolet-B Radiation Damage on Kentucky Bluegrass. III. Cultivar Effects

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  • 1 Department of Crop and Soil Environmental Sciences, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, VA 24061-0404

Plants possess various constitutive and inducible defense mechanisms such as pigment and antioxidant systems for protection against stresses such as ultraviolet-B (UV-B; 290 to 320 nm) radiation. Our previous research has indicated that higher chlorophyll, carotenoid, and anthocyanin concentrations were associated with greater tolerance of UV-B stress by `Georgetown' kentucky bluegrass (Poa pratensis L.). The objectives of this study were to determine if kentucky bluegrass cultivars with darker leaf color possessed greater pigment and antioxidant defense systems and if such increases were associated with greater resistance to UV-B. Eight cultivars exhibiting a range of green color intensity (`Apollo', `Brilliant', `Julius', Limerick', `Midnight', `Moonlight', `Nuglade', and `Total Eclipse') were selected and subjected to continuous, artificial UV-B radiation (70 μmol·m-2·s-1). UV-B irradiation reduced turf quality (55% to 62%) and photochemical efficiency (37% to 70%) when measured 5 days after initiation of UV-B exposure. Significant differences in turf color, photochemical efficiency, chlorophyll a, chlorophyll b, chlorophyll a+b, and carotenoids were found among the cultivars. `Moonlight' had greatest photochemical efficiency, chlorophyll, carotenoids, and turf quality. Positive correlations of pigment concentration with photochemical efficiency and turf color were observed under UV-B radiation stress, with correlation coefficients ranging from 0.49 to 0.62. The results of this study suggests that selecting cultivars with higher concentrations of chlorophyll and carotenoids and photochemical efficiency may be an effective way for turfgrass managers and sod producers to improve sod establishment and quality in environments with higher UV-B radiation.

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