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AuthorsSchmid, Rolf D.
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AbstractThe field of biosensorsis one of the manyareas in biotechnology which currently exhibit characteristics of exponential growth. While until a few years ago still one of the outposts of enzymology, nowadaysresearch centers around the world and many companies (venture business as well as the “establishment”) have proclaimed their interest in this area, and in fact recent years have seen a sharpincreasein related publications, patents and in biosensor equipment appearing on the open market. According to Chemical Abstracts, 332 communications in this field were published in 1985, with 7 countries contributing about 80%of the worldwide activities (and more than 95%of the 114 patents), and Japantaking a clear lead (Fig. 1). Amore detailed analysis revealed that — apart from a “learning curve”-type progressin applying established principles to biosensor construction, new developments in transducer technology (e.g. the application of FETs, fiber optics and piezocrystals), flow injection methods, and creativity in biomolecule selection (e.g. antibodies, membrane constituents, organelles, tissues and receptors) have resulted in a host of new possibilities which do not yet show anysigns of becoming exhausted. In this situation, it was decided that the Gesellschaft fiir Biotechnologische Forschung (GBF), which is the national research institute for biotechnological research in the Federal Republic of Germany, should start a majoreffort to enterthis field, and that an international workshop would provide the most appropriate opportunity to meet the leading authorities and to shape our own research program. In a boomingfield (as biotechnologyis today), it is often quite difficult to identify the “trendsetter laboratories” in a discipline where oneis notyet sufficiently familiar. Fortunately, the “Biotechnology Abstract Analyzer”, a proprietary computer-based evaluation of publishedliterature (based on “CAS Online”) which is designedto assist in the perceptionof leaders, trends and cooperations, provided us with a goodlead in Additional formats of this computeranalysis (which are not indicated here) allowed us to identify the research fields emphasized by the leaders; a tentative program for the planned workshop emerged asa result. A “tour de force” visit to dominant laboratories (10 in the USA,7 in Japan, and 3 in Europe, in a total of only 8 working days), then gave the opportunity for the personal discussions vital to shape thefinal program of the workshop. Weat GBF are most obliged to all colleagues who accepted myvisits in 1986, both for their kind patience with a “newcomer”, and for their extremely valuable advice with respect to the workshop program. Special thanks are due to M. Aizawa and to the co-organizers of the workshop and co-editors of this book, G. Guilbault (New Orleans), |. Karube (Tokyo), H.-L. Schmidt (Weihenstephan) and L. Wingard (Pittsburgh). As a result of these preparatory steps, the workshop, which tookplace at the GBF in Braunschweig from June 23-26, 1987, was considered by mostparticipants to have provided a practically complete overview of the state-of-the-art in the field of biosensors. Two features of the format of the meeting deserve special reference: 1. Following a suggestion of L. Wingard, 3 potentially relevant lectures on “longrange” topics wereincluded(“Horizon Lectures”); they permitted timely and stimulating breaks in an otherwise extremely busy schedule. 2. All researchers interested to join the conference but who had not beenspecifically invited as speakers were requested (and agreed) to show postersto facilitate the communication and exchangeof ideas. The 37 posters which included displayed information from 16 companieslocated in 5 countries complemented the lectures in an ideal way. We at GBF would onceagain like to extend our thanks and appreciation to all speakers and exhibitors of posters, and to the many people at GBF who helped so much in organizing the event*. We hopethat the reader of the Proceedingswill find this book as stimulating as the participants did the Workshopitself; both of which emphasizein their own right a rapidly diversifying field which is gaining momentum in terms of new concepts and industrial applications.
CitationBiosensors International Workshop 1987, I - XVII
Series/Report no.GBF Monographs, Volume 10
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