The influences of processing and storage on the quality indices and nutritional content of fresh-cut fruits were evaluated in comparison to whole fruits stored for the same duration but prepared on the day of sampling. Fresh-cut pineapples, mangoes, cantaloupes, watermelons, strawberries, and kiwifruits and whole fruits were stored for up to 9 days in air at 5 degrees C. The postcutting life based on visual appearance was shorter than 6 days for fresh-cut kiwifruit and shorter than 9 days for fresh-cut pineapple, cantaloupe, and strawberry. On the other hand, fresh-cut watermelon and mango pieces were still marketable after 9 days at 5 degrees C. Losses in vitamin C after 6 days at 5 degrees C were < or = 5% in mango, strawberry, and watermelon pieces, 10% in pineapple pieces, 12% in kiwifruit slices, and 25% in cantaloupe cubes. No losses in carotenoids were found in kiwifruit slices and watermelon cubes, whereas losses in pineapples were the highest at 25% followed by 10-15% in cantaloupe, mango, and strawberry pieces after 6 days at 5 degrees C. No significant losses in total phenolics were found in any of the fresh-cut fruit products tested after 6 days at 5 degrees C. Light exposure promoted browning in pineapple pieces and decreased vitamin C content in kiwifruit slices. Total carotenoids contents decreased in cantaloupe cubes and kiwifruit slices, but increased in mango and watermelon cubes in response to light exposure during storage at 5 degrees C for up to 9 days. There was no effect of exposure to light on the content of phenolics. In general, fresh-cut fruits visually spoil before any significant nutrient loss occurs.