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Oxidative Rancidity. Fats (q.v.) and oils (q.v.), when exposed to air, deteriorate and acquire very disagreeable odors and flavors. The reaction that causes this is known as autoxidation (q.v.). It involves the linking of oxygen to the sites of double bonds (q.v.) in the unsaturated fatty acids (q.v.), thereby transforming them into unstable compounds that decompose and produce the intensive odors and flavors of rancidity (q.v.). Autoxidation is inhibited by the addition of certain antioxidants (q.v.).