Rancidity in food and feedstuff may result from oxidation of the lipid component of the sample, microbiological deterioration of the sample or both. Oils are said to become rancid when they undergo a degradation process known as oxidation. A variety of chemical compounds such as peroxides, aldehydes and free fatty acids are created as oil oxidizes.
Foods which contain high concentrations of unsaturated lipids are particularly susceptible to lipid oxidation. Lipid oxidation is one of the major forms of spoilage in foods, because it leads to the formation of off-flavours and potentially toxic compounds. Lipid oxidation is an extremely complex process involving numerous reactions that give rise to a variety of chemical and physical changes in lipids
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