AbstractIt has been generally accepted that some ionic liquids are good media for homogeneous functionalization of cellulose. However, phthalylated cellulosic derivatives prepared in ionic liquids without any catalyst have lower DS as compared to the acetylated ones. In order to prepare the phthalylated cellulosic derivatives with higher DS, chemical modification of sugarcane bagasse cellulose with phthalic anhydride using ionic liquid 1-butyl-3-methylimidazolium chloride ([bmim]Cl) as a solvent and 4-dimethylaminopyridine (DMAP) as a catalyst has been examined. The results indicated that DMAP could enhance the reaction efficiency. The native cellulose and cellulose phthalates were characterized by FT-IR, solid-state CP/MAS 13C NMR, and thermogravimetric analysis. The results from FT-IR and solid-state CP/MAS 13C NMR analyses indicated that the phthalylation between cellulose and phthalic anhydride was successfully achieved. In addition, it was found that the thermal stability of the cellulose phthalates decreased upon chemical modification.