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International Journal of the Biology, Chemistry, Physics, and Technology of Wood

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Chemical changes in silver birch (Betula pendula Roth) wood caused by hydrogen peroxide bleaching and monitored by color measurement (CIELab) and UV-Vis, FTIR and UVRR spectroscopy

Kirsi Mononen1 / Anna-Stiina Jääskeläinen2 / Leila Alvila3 / Tuula T. Pakkanen4 / Tapani Vuorinen5






Corresponding author. Department of Chemistry, University of Joensuu, P.O. Box 111, FI-80101 Joensuu, Finland Fax: +358-13-251-3390

Citation Information: Holzforschung. Volume 59, Issue 4, Pages 381–388, ISSN (Online) 1437-434X, ISSN (Print) 0018-3830, DOI: 10.1515/HF.2005.063, July 2005

Publication History

August 30, 2004
March 7, 2005
Published Online:


Silver birch (Betula pendula Roth) wood was subjected to bleaching with acidic hydrogen peroxide solution. The color change and chemical changes occurring on bleaching were investigated by CIELab color measurements and UV-Vis, FTIR and UVRR spectroscopy. With bleaching, the color of birch wood changed notably towards white, less red and more yellow, revealed by the CIELab color measurements, however, followed by notable yellowing in 343 days. The chemical changes occurring with the bleaching treatment in the xylem of birch, demonstrated by UV-Vis, FTIR and UVRR spectroscopy, indicated degradation of aromatic structures with a simultaneous increase in relative amounts of unconjugated carbonyl structures. The results indicate that the degradation of aromatic structures involved opening of the aromatic ring possibly leading to the formation of muconic acids or other low molecular weight products rich in carbonyl structures. In addition, in birch wood subjected to bleaching treatment with acidic hydrogen peroxide solution, syringyl structures provided favorable sites for the degradation of aromatic structures.

Keywords: Betula pendula Roth; birch; bleaching; CIELab; Fourier-transform infrared; hydrogen peroxide; spectroscopy; UV resonance Raman; UV-visible

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