The lipophilic extractives of Eucalyptus globulus , Eucalyptus grandis , Eucalyptus urograndis , Betula verrucosa and Acacia mangium woods and of the corresponding ECF bleached kraft pulps, were characterised by GC-MS. The five hardwoods showed significant differences in the content and composition of the main families of extractives, namely fatty acids, long chain aliphatic alcohols and sterols. Significant differences in the composition persist after wood pulping and ECF bleaching of pulps. The fate of the various types of extractives during the wood and pulp processing is discussed. Long chain aliphatic acids and alcohols are quite stable during the pulp production and are retained to a great extent in the final bleached pulp; delta 5 sterols are mostly oxidised and partially retained in the pulps, while delta 7 sterols are completely degraded and/or dissolved. B. verrucosa and A. mangium bleached pulps show contents of fatty acids about 4 and 20 times higher than that of Eucalyptus pulps, respectively, while the content of long chain aliphatic alcohols in A. mangium pulp is of the order of 100 times higher than Eucalyptus and B. verrucosa pulps.