Market Profile: Benchtop NMR for Agriculture and Food Applications

Apr 01, 2012
By Spectroscopy Editors

People most often think of gargantuan systems that cost millions of dollars when someone mentions nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy. However, benchtop NMR systems have grown to become a major market segment due in large part to demand from the agriculture and food industry. There is also significantly more competition in the benchtop NMR market than the traditional high-field NMR market.

Agriculture and food benchtop NMR vendor share for 2011.
Benchtop NMR systems make use of a fixed magnet, as opposed to a superconducting magnet for high-field systems. This design has allowed manufacturers to develop very compact benchtop NMR systems that cost a fraction of their bigger brothers. Benchtop NMR eliminates the need for solvents and sample preparation associated with Soxhlet extraction. In contrast to near-infrared (NIR) spectroscopy, NMR analysis probes throughout the bulk of a sample, whereas NIR only analyzes the surface, making NMR better for inhomogeneous samples that are common in the agriculture and food industry. These advantages have helped benchtop NMR become a widely accepted technique in the industry over the past decade.

Similar to the high-field NMR market, a select few vendors, namely Bruker and Oxford Instruments, dominate the benchtop NMR market. Unlike the high-field market, however, there are a handful of small companies that compete in the benchtop NMR system market as well. The agriculture and food portion of the benchtop NMR market was worth close to $40 million in 2011, and should continue to see high single-digit growth going forward.

The foregoing data were extracted from SDi’s market analysis and perspectives report entitled The Global Assessment Report, 11th Edition: The Laboratory Life Science and Analytical Instrument Industry, October 2010. For more information, contact Stuart Press, Vice President, Strategic Directions International, Inc., 6242 Westchester Parkway, Suite 100, Los Angeles, CA 90045, (310) 641-4982, fax: (310) 641-8851,