Send to

Choose Destination
Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 1998 May;38(4):315-30.

The thiobarbituric acid (TBA) reaction in foods: a review.

Author information

Department of Nutrition and Food Science, Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Sevilla, Spain.


The wide diffusion of 2-thiobarbituric acid (TBA) in the scientific literature is due to the TBA assay, or TBA test, which has been employed in the determination of autoxidative alterations of fats and oils. Two processes occur in autoxidation, generally: the free radical and the photo-oxidation mechanisms. The better studied is the free radical mechanism. The hydroperoxiepidioxides and bicycloendoperoxides are malonaldehyde (MDA) precursors. The absorption spectrum obtained with oxidized fatty foods is like the spectrum obtained when TBA and MDA react. However, during the secondary phase of the autoxidation process other aldehydes (alkanals, 2-alkenals, dienals) are formed which react with TBA, and they are responsible for off-flavors. Three kinds of pigments (yellow, orange, red adducts) are involved. Also, aromatic aldehydes, which constitute the flavor profile of diverse fruits and essential oils, form with TBA the characteristic arylidene-2-TBA acids. Other substances, such as ketones, ketosteroids, acids, esters, sugars, imides and amides, amino acids, oxidized proteins, pyridines, pyrimidines, and vitamins can react with TBA; they are named TBARS (substances that react with TBA), and form principally in meats and meat derivatives. Several organic or bio-organic acids, as shikimic and sorbic acids, react photometrically with TBA if a Malaprade reaction takes place before. A structural study of the red adduct TBA-MDA has been carried out.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Taylor & Francis
Loading ...
Support Center