An endophyte is a fungus found naturally in turf ryegrass and tall fescue. They are fascinating little fungi which forge a partnership with these plants, offering a shield of protection against pesky insects. In return, the turf becomes their nurturing home, fostering their growth and reproduction.
In New Zealand, the presence of endophyte is essential in turf ryegrass and tall fescue to enable resistance against common pests such as Argentine stem weevil, black beetle, pasture mealy bug, root aphid and porina.
Endophytes can't hop from one plant to another like you may expect, they can only travel to a new plant via seeds. However, this limitation doesn't hold us back! We can introduce novel endophyte strains to different ryegrass or tall fescue cultivars via our comprehensive R&D programmes.
The real magic of endophytes lies in their chemical talents. They're like little chemists, producing a bunch of different compounds that vary across different endophyte strains and turf cultivars.
Some of these compounds are the turf's mighty protectors, warding off specific insect invaders. Ever heard of peramine and lolines? These compounds act as a deterrent to particular insects such as Argentine stem weevil, black beetle, pasture mealy bug, root aphid and porina. Other compounds such as lolitrem B and ergovaline can adversely affect animals.
Endophyte inside the plant between the cells
Avanex is a special strain of endophyte with particularly high levels of ergovaline and lolines. This provides not only insect resistance but can deter animals such as rabbits, birds and geese from grazing turf. This unique quality proves especially beneficial in areas like airports and parks near waterways, where birds frequently foul the grass.
Colosseum perennial turf ryegrass incorporating AVANEX® Unique Endophyte Technology was born out of sport. It was first bred from the few surviving plants out of a test cricket pitch and these plants were then crossed, resulting in a cultivar capable of withstanding extremely adverse conditions.
What's in it for sports grounds, you ask? AVANEX® contributes to insect-free playing surfaces while curbing the excreted waste from birds, preventing them and other grazing animals from disrupting the game. Turfgrasses with AVANEX® have proven their exceptional persistence and resilience under the intense pressures of top-level competitive sports.
In conclusion, endophytes weave a tale of harmonious coexistence and chemical wonders in the world of turf grass. Their guardianship strengthens the natural defence mechanisms of plants while posing a potential challenge to some unsuspecting animals. Understanding and harnessing the potential of endophytes mark a significant stride in sustainable turf management