Fluorescent products (lipofuscin-like compounds) of lipid peroxidation, which accumulate with age, were extracted from `Fuerte' avocado (Persea americana Mill.) peels during ripening. Fractionation and analysis of these fluorescent compounds (FCs) was carried out by an improved method, based on separation of FCs from-chlorophyll by Sep-Pak silica cartridges. A sharp rise in FCs content was found 2 days after harvest in avocado fruits stored at 22C, and ethylene enhanced this rise 3-fold on the 4th day. The accumulation of FCs preceded by at leasts days the onset of climacteric ethylene and respiration and by 2 days the decrease in fruit firmness. Moreover, a 6-foId increase in the FCs concentration occurred during 1 to 2 weeks of storage at SC, but the avocado fruits did not show any other detectable signs of ripening. These results suggest that lipid peroxidation may be regarded as one of the earliest detectable processes occurring during fruit ripening. Thus, an increase of FCs in peel may be employed as a horticultural characteristic for estimating initiation of ripening in avocado fruit.