New designer grass for airport, golf course: It may keep birds, insects, livestocks away

You may bid goodbye to pesticides one day to keep away insects and birds from your farm or garden! Scientists are planning to design strains of grass that could one day keep birds, insects and livestock away from golf courses and airports naturally. New Zealand scientists discussed research into these smart grasses at the Agricultural Biotechnology Industry Conference in Melbourne.

The fungi – endophytes — live in the spaces between plant cells. Endophytes have qualities of repelling insects, while others are toxic to livestock that graze on them. So, over the past two decades, Chris Pennell and his colleagues have been working in search of the right combinations of grass and fungus — for offering the benefits without the toxic side-effects.

Planting this new grass and fungus combinations in airports, will keep insects and birds away, which could help reduce dangerous birdstrikes — where birds collide with aircraft.