The effects of varying the method of preparation of haemolysates on the measurement of red cell folate concentration were investigated using the Simultrac kit. The concentration of ascorbic acid did not have any significant effect on the assayed concentrations of folate, but lower concentrations were obtained when the incubation time was increased. Folate was stable for 14 days in cells when they were stored at 4 degrees C and for seven days at -25 degrees C, but instability was increased by storage in ascorbic acid, by the use of stored (4 degrees C) ascorbic acid, and by preparing the haemolysates by freeze-thaw cycling. It is recommended that haemolysates should be diluted in fresh ascorbic acid, at a concentration of 10 g/l, incubated for 60 minutes in the dark and stored at -20 degrees/25 degrees C before being assayed.
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