Revisiting the thiobarbituric acid reactive substances (TBARS) assay to measure antioxidant activity in a lipid system

Research output: Other contribution to conferencePosterpeer-review


There are many widely used methods to measure antioxidant activity (e.g., ORAC, TEAC, FRAP,DPPH), but very few assays measure the effectiveness of an antioxidant as it protects a lipid substrate. One test that has been used in this way is the thiobarbituric acid reactive substances (TBARS) assay, but it has been reported to be highly variable (Buenger J Int. J. Cosmet. Sci. 2006; 28: 135). Variability may arise from the substrate, the antioxidant, and even the order of addition of the reagents. Using linoleic acid as the substrate, TBARS assays exhibited variability in the absence of an antioxidant, thereby indicating possible batch-to-batch differences in the substrate itself. Within a batch of linoleic acid, different Trolox concentrations gave different %CV with the highest %CV at 1000 μM Trolox.The order of addition of the reagents was also found to affect the consistency of the results. To our knowledge, this is the first systematic study of the TBARS antioxidant assay specifically investigating method variability. Several sources of variability have been identified. It is possible that batch-to-batch variation in linoleic acid could be overcome by reporting % inhibition, if other sources of variability (e.g., antioxidant concentration) can be understood. Ongoing research in this area is investigating lipidoxidation markers other than TBARS (e.g., hydroperoxides) to determine if these can be used to more reliably assess antioxidant activity.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 2013
EventAustralasian Section of the American Oil Chemists' Society (AAOCS) Biennial Conference - Noah’s on the Beach, Newcastle, Australia
Duration: 06 Nov 201308 Nov 2013 (Conference website) (Conference abstracts)


ConferenceAustralasian Section of the American Oil Chemists' Society (AAOCS) Biennial Conference
Abbreviated titleFood vs Fuels
OtherThe AAOCS (Australian Section of the American oil chemists’ society) is holding their biannual meeting at Noah’s on the Beach Newcastle Australia on the 6-8th of November. This year’s theme will be on the Food vs. Fuels debate. Plant oil production is currently almost entirely directed to human food uses. Yet these oils also represent the most prospective renewable resource for production of numerous industrial products, such as transportation fuels, industrial chemicals and polymers, which are currently derived from petroleum. A major challenge, and opportunity, is to dramatically increase global production of plant oils to not only meet increasing food demand for a burgeoning world population, but also to provide sufficient surplus to enable use as renewable industrial oils. This challenge is very important for the oilseed industry, and is the subject of the upcoming AAOCS meeting biennial meeting.
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