n. decomposition of fats and other lipids by hydrolysis and/or oxidation; process of becoming rancid
Rancidification, the product of which can be described as rancidity, is the process which causes a substance to become rancid, that is, having a rank, unpleasant smell or taste. Specifically, it is the hydrolysis and/or autoxidation of fats into short-chain aldehydes and ketones which are objectionable in taste and odor. When these processes occur in food, undesirable odors and flavors can result. In some cases, however, the flavors can be desirable (as in aged cheeses). In processed meats, these flavors are collectively known as warmed-over flavor. Rancidification can also detract from the nutritional value of food, and some vitamins are highly sensitive to degradation. Akin to rancidification, oxidative degradation also occurs in other hydrocarbons, e.g. lubricating oils, fuels, and mechanical cutting fluids.