California-grown `Hass' avocado fruit were stored at 5C, in air or a controlled atmosphere (CA) of 2% oxygen and 5% carbon dioxide. Fruit were evaluated at 0, 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, and 12 weeks, both immediately upon removal from storage and after ripening at 20C. Severe chilling injury (flesh browning) developed in the airstored fruit after 6 weeks, while only moderate symptoms were observed in CA-stored avocado fruit after 12 weeks. Lipid peroxidation breakdown products increased during storage and ripening in both air and CA treatments. Sterols, steryl esters, steryl glycosides, glycolipids, and phospholipids were analyzed. Quantity of acylated steryl glycoside in ripe fruit changed from 34 nmoles initially, to 51 or 27 nmoles after 6 weeks at 5C in air or CA, respectively. Glycolipid fatty acid unsaturation in air-stored fruit decreased with the development of chilling injury. Fatty acid unsaturation in phospholipids (phosphatidylinositol, phosphatidylcholine, phosphatidylglycerol, and phosphatidylethanolamine) of air-stored avocados decreased with the development of chilling injury. CA storage delayed the development of chilling injury and the loss of fatty acid unsaturation.