AbstractNanofibrillated cellulose, NFC, is an interesting wood fibre-based material that could be utilized in coatings, foams, composites, packages, dispersions, and emulsions, due to its high tensile strength and barrier properties, light weight, and stabilizing features. To improve applicability and properties of NFC, modification of its surface properties is often needed. In this study, the applicability of laccase-aided surface modification with hydrophobic dodecyl gallate (DOGA) on unbleached NFC was investigated. Also, laccase-catalyzed polymerization of DOGA and other phenolic compounds with lignin moieties was investigated by matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization time-of-flight mass spectroscopy (MALDI-TOF MS). NFC modified with T. hirsuta-based laccase and DOGA showed decreased hydrophilicity, as compared with the native NFC, when coated on a paper surface. When dried as free-standing films, the surface properties of chemo-enzymatically modified NFC resembled those of the native NFC. The effect of modification was thus greatly influenced by different surface formation in differently prepared samples. Also, changing of the dispersion properties of DOGA by enzymatic polymerization affected the surface properties of the dried NFC samples. Covalent bonding between DOGA and NFC was not the main factor affecting the surface properties of the NFC in free-standing films or coatings.