Fluridone has been widely used for control of the submersed aquatic weed hydrilla in Florida for over 25 years. Recently, some hydrilla biotypes were suspected of having developed resistance to fluridone. Laboratory studies were conducted to monitor changes in phytoene and β-carotene contents as a function of suspected susceptible and resistant hydrilla biotypes to fluridone treatment. Hydrilla shoot tips from each biotype were exposed to 5, 10, 15, 20, 30, and 50 μg L−1 fluridone. Higher β-carotene and lower phytoene content was observed in all resistant hydrilla biotypes compared with the susceptible. The susceptible biotype showed an increase in phytoene or a decrease in β-carotene content when treated with as little as 5 μg L−1 of fluridone, whereas much higher doses were needed for the resistant biotypes. EC50 β-carotene values of 9 and 63 μg L−1 fluridone were found in the susceptible and the most resistant biotype, respectively. Consistent levels of hydrilla injury occurred at phytoene/β carotene index values of 5.5–7 and occurred at exposure to 5–10 μg L−1 fluridone in susceptible and 50 μg L−1 in the most resistant biotype. A resistance factor (R/S) was calculated for each hydrilla biotype which ranged from as low as 2X (R1 and R2) to 7X (R5). Aggressive spread of fluridone resistant dioecious hydrilla in aquatic ecosystems can severely impact hydrilla management, and consequently cause substantial and long-lasting ecological and economic problems throughout the southern United States.
Nomenclature: Fluridone; hydrilla, Hydrilla verticillata (L.f.) Royle HYLLI.