Biosensors or biological sensors are the integrated chemical sensing devices made up of a transducer and a biological element. The biological element interacts with the analyte being tested and the biological response, which may be optical, electrical, or thermal. It is then converted by the transducer into a measurable electrical parameter such as voltage or a current. Depending on their particular application, biosensors are also known as resonant mirrors, optrodes, immunosensors, biochips, chemical canaries, biocomputers and glucometers.
A wide range of substances are used as the biological element in biosensors, including nucleic acids, proteins such as antibodies and enzymes, lectins or plant proteins, and complex substances such as organelles, tissue slices, and microorganisms.
Biosensors find numerous applications in fields such as food toxicity detection, medical testing, agricultural applications, industrial processing and quality control, and environmental pollution control. Most commonly, biosensors are used for ensuring the safety and quality of a variety of consumer goods and for detecting toxins and microbial pathogens in food products. Biosensor probes off late have become highly sophisticated, chiefly owing to advances in the fields of biotechnology and microelectronics. Owing to their use in detecting a wide spectrum of analytes including ions, organic compounds, bacteria, and gases, biosensors hold a highly valuable place in a large number of industries.
Biosensors in Point-of-Care-Testing (POCT)
One of the most lucrative end-use sectors for biosensors is the field of point-of-care-testing, or bedside testing – the medical testing near or at the site of patient care. Biosensors aid clinicians by providing essential data immediately, ensuring care delivery in a more effective manner.
As many of the available diagnostic methods and detection technologies require the use of bulky instruments that must be operated by well-trained staffs and since they also takes a long time to complete a single testing, the demand for integrated, portable biosensors that can be used outside a conventional care delivery setting by untrained people has been on a continuous rise.
The rising demand for point-of-care-testing across the globe in the past few years has significantly benefitted the global biosensors market. A recent market research report published by Persistence Market Research states that the global biosensors market will expand at a 9.7% CAGR between 2015 and 2020. At this pace, the market, which had a valuation of US$12,963.6 mn in 2014, is projected to rise to US$22,551.2 mn by 2020.
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North America Biosensors Market Fuelled by Biosensor Application across Several Segments
The usage of biosensors is comparatively higher in North America than other prominent regional markets. This is chiefly due to technological advancements and increasing application of biosensors across several areas. The region also demonstrates a visible shift of patient preference from conventional healthcare facilities to home, which is expected to lead to a high demand for point-of-care-testing biosensors in the long run. However, concerns regarding safety of biosensors, a strict regulatory framework governing the authorization of medical devices or the products used in home healthcare facilities, research laboratories, bio-defense, and security in North America are hindering the overall growth of the market to a certain extent. The growth of the global biosensors market is relatively much higher in developed countries owing to the large population base, modernization of healthcare and research facilities, and increasing health insurance penetration.