To date, no consensus exists on the type of crude Plasmodium falciparum Ags to be used in a standard assay for the evaluation of the overall anti-blood-stage immune response in humans. Comparison of the dose-dependent reactivity of using a pool of hyper-immune Senegalese sera to saponin and water schizont extracts of the Senegalese 07/03 isolate indicated similar reactivity on both types of antigen preparations. Water schizont extracts from three different strains of P. falciparum adapted to in vitro culture probed with a panel of specific mouse antisera and monoclonal antibodies reacting with conserved antigens showed similar antigenic content. Seroreactivity of immune individuals living in three different areas of endemicity was assessed in parallel on water crude extracts. The individual IgG, IgM and IgG subclass antibody responses to the various schizont preparations correlated positively. The specific IgM response was higher on the Senegalese schizont extract than on the FCR3 extract and was highest in Dielmo villagers. The IgG response was similar in all three locations and was strain independent. These results indicate that monitoring IgG antibody levels to the widely distributed FCR3 strain using an easily prepared crude lysate might represent a valuable reference ELISA allowing homogenisation and comparison of data from different laboratories.