When stored at 42°C and 100% relative humidity for 1 to 8 days, sunflower seeds (Helianthus annuus L. cv. Rodeo) aged prematurely and lost 25% of their initial viability. A ten-fold increase in conjugated dienes as well as a decrease of unsaturated fatty acids in diacylglycerol and polar lipids fractions were observed after 8 days of accelerated aging, demonstrating the occurrence of lipid peroxidation in prematurely aged sunflower seeds. However, the viability remained relatively high. The absence of membrane damage in seeds and of lipid peroxidation in isolated microsqmes suggested that lipid peroxidation concerned mainly lipid reserves. These results suggest that, at least within the first 8 days of treatment, the lipid reserve in sunflower seeds might act as a detoxifying trap, protecting membranes from excessive damage.