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Market Profile: Dedicated AAA's.

Amino acid analyzers come in two varieties: General-purpose HPLC and dedicated amino acid analyzers. The second group, dedicated AAA's, are unique instruments devoted entirely to large quantity amino acid analysis. Dedicated AAA's are a specialty niche of the liquid chromatography market used specifically for routine amino acid analysis. The total market for this instrument was approximately $12 million in 2000. For such a seemingly small market, there have been several business developments in the past few years. Beckman Coulter, at the time the leader in dedicated AAA, phased out this portion of its business in 1997. Yet, other companies such as Biochrom, a Harvard Bioscience subsidiary, and Hitachi Instruments have increased their involvement in this field. Biochrom acquired Biotronik's AAA business from Eppendorf in mid 2000 and Hitachi released a new dedicated analyzer, the L-8800, in 1997. In addition to Biochrom and Hitachi Instruments, Jeol also manufactures dedicated AAA's.

AAA's are based on ion-exchange chromatography and are used for a variety of applications, such as the analysis of complex hydrosylates, quality control in drug synthesis, and research and metabolic disorder screening. The food and beverage sector is a major user because AAA provide manufacturers with the ability to determine the origin and type of protein source in a product, indicate spoilage, and identify if microbial contamination has occurred. The dairy sector uses dedicated AAA's for assessing the quality of milk. One application in the animal-feed and pet food industries is to determine the most economical diets for farm animals and pets. Pharmaceutical companies use AAA's to check the quality and authenticity of generic drugs to verify they comply with governmental regulations. Other uses of AAA's include determining how effectively drugs are being absorbed by a patient and the detection of metabolism disorders in a patient.

Some of the specialty applications of AAA's, such as quality control of food and beverages, will become increasingly important in the upcoming years and this, in turn, will result in a noticeable increase in market size. The current demand in Europe for AAA's is greater than any other sector of the world, but North America is also experiencing higher growth.
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Publication:Instrument Business Outlook
Date:Dec 31, 2000
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