AbstractCellulose was treated in ethylene glycol with p-toluene sulfonic acid monohydrate as a catalyst at different temperatures. At the highest treatment temperature (150 °C) liquefaction of wood pulp cellulose was achieved and was dependant on cellulose polymerization degree (DP). Furthermore, the rate of amorphous cellulose weight loss was found to increase with cellulose degree of polymerization, while the rate of crystalline cellulose weight loss was reciprocal to the size of the crystallites. The cellulose degradation was studied by monitoring of the molecular mass decrease by size-exclusion chromatography. It was revealed that microcrystalline cellulose degrades via a ‘quantum mode’ mechanism, while the degradation of Whatman filter paper no 1. and cotton linters proceeded randomly and were partly dependent on the starting polymerization degree, crystallinity, and treatment temperature. The kinetics of cellulose degradation in heterogeneous media was described by means of a one-stage model, characterised by the consumption of glycosidic bonds in amorphous and crystalline cellulose regions until the levelling-off degree of polymerization is reached.