AbstractA new pulp fibre testing procedure called the HCl method was used to compare different spruce and pine fibres and mixtures of these fibres to calculate number of fibre cleavages in dislocations and other weak points. This method was compared with treatment of softwood kraft pulp fibres using different cellulase mixtures. The HCl method can distinguish between mill- and laboratory-made softwood kraft pulp fibres from the same wood batch. The sugar release is characterized by xylose and other hemicellulose sugars and little glucose. This is in contrast to cellulases, which despite strong fibre cleavage, did not distinguish between mill- and laboratory-made pulp fibres and released large amounts of glucose from the fibres. Hemicellulose degradation by HCl and deep penetration of the acid into the primary and secondary fibre cell walls at 80°C seems to be of major importance for the differentiation between mill and laboratory pulp fibres. Cellulases, in contrast, act mostly on the fibre surfaces, and deep penetration only takes place in amorphous regions of dislocations.