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ASM's 100th General Meeting.

Held May 21-25 in Los Angeles, California, the 100th general meeting of the American Society for Microbiology (ASM) featured workshops, colloquia and symposia, and exhibits centered on microbiology and the growing number of applications for its techniques and instrumentation. The meeting's program was arranged around the categories of: diagnostic microbiology and epidemiology; pathogenesis and host response mechanisms; general and applied microbiology (including environmental); and molecular microbiology, physiology, and virology. But the unofficial focuses of this year's meeting appeared to be clinical diagnostics and food analysis. As two of the most dynamic areas of microbiological research, clinical diagnosis and food analysis have benefited from recent instrumentation advances sparked by genomics research.

Although the meeting is more about the presentations than the exhibitions, several products generated interest. Among these products were rapid detection systems, such as bioMrieux's VIDAS system for industrial QA/QC laboratories and the BioSys's automated microbiological detection system. Among the major exhibitors were BD Biosciences, Bio-Rad, Micromass and Amersham Pharmacia Biotech. Featuring food analysis products were BioControl Systems and Celsis. Other products with many exhibitors were RT PCR, microarrays, DNA sequencers, fluorescence imaging systems, platereaders and miniprep items. Overall, however, exhibition foot traffic was moderate.

As for presentations, food analysis and diagnostic applications again made a strong showing. Session topics included "Bacteria in Meat Products Show Antibiotic Resistance," "ASM President's Forum: Genetically Modified Foods," and "Gene Chip for Bacterial Identification." The show's emphasis on presentations was further demonstrated by its press conferences which consisted not of companies presenting new products, but researchers presenting their papers, many of which dealt with practical applications of microbiology, such as water and food testing.

According to the ASM, in the past, over half of the show's attendees have been researchers with the majority being from the fields of clinical microbiology, microbial pathogenesis, genetics and molecular biology, and environmental and general applied microbiology. Although attendance figures for this year's meeting were unavailable at press time, last year's meeting attracted over 13,000 visitors and featured 375 exhibiting companies.

The next general meeting of the American Society for Microbiology will be held May 20-24, 2001 in Orlando, Florida.
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Publication:Instrument Business Outlook
Date:May 31, 2000
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