AbstractIn this study, the bleachability of commercial mixed tropical hardwood brown kraft pulp by oxygen delignification (O stage) was examined. It was found that the effective reduction of kappa number was limited to about 35%, and the pulp viscosity was 20.3 cP with a selectivity less than 0.60 and ISO brightness of ca. 43%. The selectivity and pulp brightness of the O stage were improved by adding H2O2 (OP stage) because it decreased the kappa number to a greater extent. However, the addition of hydrogen peroxide caused more serious cellulose degradation. In order to minimize the drop of pulp viscosity during the OP stage, a small amount (0.04%) of anthraquinone (AQ) was added. The results showed that the AQ-aided OP stage was capable of preventing cellulose degradation and thus improved the bleaching selectivity about 60%, in comparison to the ordinary O stage. Moreover, the AQ-OP pulps retained significantly less hexenuronic acid than the pulps from O and OP stages.