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Dean A. Kopsell, James T. Brosnan, Gregory R. Armel, and J. Scott McElroy

Mesotrione {2-[4-(methylsulfonyl)-2-nitrobensoyl]-1,3-cyclohexanedione} is a herbicide that indirectly inhibits phytoene desaturase in plant tissues, the first step in the carotenoid biosynthesis pathway. The predominant symptom of mesotrione activity is tissue whitening with subsequent plant necrosis. In the current study, ‘Riviera’ bermudagrass [Cynodon dactylon (L.) Pers.] was treated with mesotrione at 0.28 kg·ha−1 or untreated and sampled for tissue pigment concentrations at 0, 3, 7, 14, 21, 28, and 35 days after treatment (DAT). Visual tissue whitening in mesotrione-treated plants reached a maximum of 38% by 14 DAT; however, regreening of discolored tissue was observed by 21 DAT. Phytoene was only detected in mesotrione-treated plants at 3, 7, and 14 DAT. Pigments in treated plants decreased with initial tissue whitening; however, most recovered to untreated levels by 21 DAT. At 35 DAT, chlorophyll a, chlorophyll b, lutein, β-carotene, and zeaxanthin in mesotrione-treated plants had accumulated to levels exceeding untreated control plants. Results demonstrate that although mesotrione initially decreases bermudagrass pigment concentrations, treatment with this herbicide eventually results in higher concentrations of chlorophylls and carotenoids.