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Butyric Acid. A four-carbon, saturated fatty acid (CH3(CH2)2COOH), found principally in butterfat (q.v.) in which it may occur at levels up to 4-7%. When present in a free state in spoiled butter as a result of hydrolysis (q.v.), it indicates a state of rancidity (q.v.) in the product and contributes to its highly unpleasant rancid odor and flavor.