Western blotting is a technique that is specifically used for protein analysis. The western blotting technique initiates with separation of molecules using gel electrophoresis. At the end of electrophoresis the separated molecules are transferred to a second matrix which commonly includes polyvinylidene difluoride (PVDF) or nitrocellulose membrane. Then, to prevent any nonspecific binding of antibodies to the surface of the membrane it is blocked with a specific mechanism. As a probe was combined with an enzyme-labeled antibody an appropriate substrate is then added to the enzyme which together produces detectable product such as chromogenic precipitate on the membrane for colorimetric detection. There are two types of western blotting procedures direct and in direct detection methods. The various advantages associate with direct method are rapid effect due to presence of one antibody, and primary antibodies. The disadvantages of direct detection method consist of reduced immunoreactivity of primary antibody labeled primary antibody, expensive, low flexibility in choice of primary antibody label and minimal signal amplification. Moreover, indirect detection method has advantages such as secondary antibody amplifying signal, variety of labeled secondary antibodies, and primary antibody immunoreactivity remain unaffected by labeling. The various disorders related with indirect detection are non-specific staining produced by secondary antibodies and a time consuming process due to presence of additional steps.
The western blotting market can be segmented on the basis of type of instrument such as manual, semi-automated and automated instruments. The consumables that are used in western blotting are also part of this market; western blotting kits, western blotting reagents and others. The western blotting reagents can be further sub-segmented as fluorescent reagents, chemifluorescent reagents, radioisotopic, reagents, chemiluminescent reagents, and chromogenic reagents. The other western blotting consumables are western blotting membranes, blotting papers and molecular weight markers. The western blotting market can be also segmented on the basis of its applications such as biomedical research, agriculture, disease diagnosis, and biochemical research. The diseases that are mainly diagnosed with the help of western blotting technique are human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), LYME disease, bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV), Hepatitis B virus (HBV) and herpes simplex virus (HSV).
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North America was observed to be the largest market for western blotting market. High awareness, escalating prevalence of diseases and introduction of advanced diagnostic technologies are the major factors driving the growth of this market. In 2010, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), an estimated 1,148,200 persons aged 13 years and above were diagnosed with HIV infection in the United States, including 207,600 (18.1%) persons whose infections had not been diagnosed. Europe was observed to be the second largest market and one of the leading research destinations for diagnostics and treatment for BSE and HIV diseases. According to UNAIDS estimates, around 2.3 million people were diagnosed with HIV in the European region at the end of 2010. Estimated adult HIV prevalence varies from 0.2% in parts of Central Europe to 1% in parts of Eastern Europe. Asia-Pacific and Rest of the World were observed to be the most potential markets for western blotting market. These regions are developing their infrastructure and medical emergency processes which increase the demand for disease diagnostics techniques. The future growth in these geographical regions is expected due to increase in the diagnosed patients especially from the emerging economies such as India, Brazil, China, and other countries.
Some of the key players operating in this market are Bio-Rad Laboratories, Inc., Advansta Inc., Proteinsimple, Inc., Li-Cor Biosciences, Sigma-Aldrich Corporation, GE Healthcare, Perkinelmer, Inc., Merck Millipore, Roche Applied Science, Thermo Fisher Scientific, Inc. and others.