Birds and other forms of wildlife are a major issue for airport authorities worldwide, as they can create hazards to operating aircraft. Wildlife “strikes,” the majority caused by birds, can cause damage to operating aircraft and in severe cases lead to a loss of human life. Many airfields contain large areas of ground cover herbage alongside their runways that consist of mixtures of grasses, legumes, and weeds that can harbor many invertebrates. Many airfields use insecticides to control insect populations; however, mounting pressure from regional councils and water boards aim to reduce this practice due to ground water runoff and contamination concerns. Avanex Unique Endophyte Technology, a product specifically developed to reduce the attractiveness of airports and surrounding areas to birds, is based on a novel association between a selected strain of Epichloë endophyte and a turf-type tall fescue cultivar. This grass–endophyte association acts through a direct mechanism whereby a negative response in birds is created through taste aversion and postingestion feedback as well as an indirect mechanism by deterring many invertebrates, a food source of many bird species.
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Vol. 45 • No. 1