Proteins are biological macromolecules considered as the basic component of a majority of enzymes, other complex bimolecular compounds, and are also required in the synthesis of such compounds. Proteins differ from one another based on the number of peptide structures present within them and the way in which they are folded ore arranged. These peptides are further composed of amino acid molecules that together form a chain to give rise to the peptide’s respective structure. Therefore, large probability of protein existence requires the ability to identify them for characterization process. Protein characterization and identification is a fundamental research process to evaluate the contents of a protein based on their molecular weight and their charge. Proteomics is the area of biochemistry that majorly deals with the identification and characterization of proteins based on their structure and chemical properties. Although proteomics mostly consists of experimental or analytical process, a vast amount of work done involves protein purification and mass spectrometry identification of protein characteristics.
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Protein electrophoresis and mass spectrometry form a typical fundamental process in the segregation of proteins in a typical proteomics study. Protein Electrophoresis can be done by either denaturing or non denaturing methods. Denaturing process allows protein unfolding and study of various polypeptides by their molecular weight and charge (charge to mass ratio), whereas non denaturing methods (also known as native gel methods) take protein size into consideration as a whole without unfolding the main structure thereby studying its shape and size in the process. Mass spectrometry machines identify proteins by utilizing the difference in light absorptivity caused by the clumping of free proteins. Immunoassays form the second form of identification steps for proteins that are to be specifically identified from others based on their phosphorylated ends. Another well accepted procedure involves the rapid identification of proteins in a mixture by the MALDI (matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization) technique. Protein chips or protein microarrays are used to rapidly identify a specific protein among a given sample by using antibodies that are designed to attract specific protein structures. Novel proteomic assay includes the ‘Fast parallel proteolysis’ (FASTpp) technique that has potential applications in the cancer protein identification market.
Besides proteomics, protein identification as of today observes the highest applicability in cancer treatment and other pharmaceutical areas. Globally, Asia Pacific accounted for the largest market for the basic protein electrophoresis equipment by sales volume. This is followed by North America, Europe and consecutively the rest of the world (RoW). The Asian markets home to a large number of biotechnological analytic device manufacturing companies in the world. The increased spending by the governments of the emerging countries in Asia in research and technology assists the rise in demand for protein electrophoresis equipment in the region which was earlier met by Japanese and European Companies. Other Asian players are expected to enter the market in the near future thereby reducing the cost and increasing the market for the years to come. Raw materials and reagents required for the same are provided by a majority of European and Asian manufacturers.
Some of the market players in this industry are numerous as the markets are highly fragmented depending upon their region of operation. Some noted players in the global market include; CBS Scientific Company Inc., Proteome Factory AG, Alphalyse, Inc., AB Sciex Pte. Ltd, Serva Electrophoresis GmbH., LabRepCo., Sigma-Aldrich Co. LLC., Lonza Group Ltd, Hoefer Inc., etc, to name a few.
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