Food testing is new and rapidly growing market for us - Advion
The systems and consumables developer for the life sciences industry launched the expression Compact Mass Spectrometer (CMS) product line about four years ago.
According to industry association data, Advion said its single quadrupole M/S is one of the top three best-selling chromatography/mass specs in many developed western and Asian countries.
Based on publicly disclosed unit volumes from competitors, it is thought Advion has >90% market share in the synthetic organic, natural product and peptide discovery chemistry deployed lab mass spec market.
Look to take testing in-house
David B. Patteson, Advion's CEO, said food and ingredients testing has become a central topic.
“Care and concern over pesticides, purity and adulterants is a prime topic in the food industry, with a number of producers looking to take testing in-house to avoid the lengthy process of sending samples to a third party lab,” he told FoodQualityNews.
“We believe labs will continue to look for and test for known adulterants and optimal purity standards in ingredients. General, non-targeted analysis for non-essential data has less emphasis right now, but undoubtedly the list of adulterants in food safety requirements will continue to grow.”
Advion has its expression CMS and full quantitative analysis can be done when coupled with the AVANT HPLC and UHPLC systems.
The firm said the system has novel sampling techniques that make rapid screening easy, with no sample prep or clean-up necessary and has gained traction in the food safety sector due to its size and price.
Patteson said the Food Safety Modernization Act has influenced consumer awareness and industry has become even more proactive about the purity and safety of products.
“We have used the CMS to create methods for several food applications, including food fraud testing of adulterated olive oils with our volatile APCI source, and safety testing for Sudan Dyes with our push-button Plate Express TLC plate reader,” he said.
“Putting the testing power directly in the producer’s hands and making the process fast and easy has been an established step forward for us at Advion, for which we will continue to pursue and develop new methods.”
Advantage in Asian markets
Advion sold 58 CMS units per quarter during the year ending December 31, 2017 from a level of 10 units per quarter in 2012-2013.
The company approached 750 CMS units shipped, with the milestone 700th order received from Japan. Nearly 30 CMS units were sold in Japan during 2017.
Demand continues to accelerate, with direct sales and support operations in China contributing nine unit sales in Q4 2017.
Asian markets growing faster than the US and Europe is a reflection of the current equation in supply and demand.
“The demand has pre-existed in China, but our newly-formed direct sales and support operations based in Beijing and Shanghai is realizing the incumbent potential,” said Patteson.
“Moreover, our parent company, Bohui Innovation Technology, located in Beijing, is helping steer our R&D and application development to suit China initiatives. In the case of Japan, we have excellent indirect channel partners who are close to the ground.”
The Atmospheric Solids Analysis Probe (ASAP) is one sample technique for liquid and solid samples.
“To obtain direct mass analysis, a user would simply dip the tip of our ASAP probe in to the sample of interest, or scratch the surface of the food product/ingredient (the skin of an apple for example) and insert it directly in to the mass spec for results in less than 30 seconds,” said Patteson.
“This method has been proven in rapid screening applications, checking authenticity, purity and looking for adulterants. Vanilla extract, coconut oil and chocolate and many other foodstuffs have all been successfully assayed with the ASAP.”
Products are designed and produced in Ithaca, New York with systems generally shipped within two weeks of receiving a purchase order.
Patteson added: “We’re targeting double-digit growth for CMS sales, as well as preparing new products for the market. This year will realize some very significant product releases from our team, and we are looking forward to sharing these with the food industry in the next six to seven months.”