AbstractMilled southern pine wood was modified with sequential treatments of sodium periodate and sodium hypobromite for the purpose of improving copper ion (Cu2+) sorption capacity of the wood when tested in 24-h equilibrium batch tests. The modified wood provided additional carboxyl groups to those in the native wood and substantially increased Cu2+ uptake over that of unmodified wood. Sorption capacity (qe) measured with an unbuffered standard solution increased to a maximum of 7.8 mg Cu2+ ion per gram of wood (treated) from 3.1 mg Cu2+ ion/g wood (untreated). Samples tested were first sodium ion exchanged to keep the pH of the standard solution from declining during the sorption test. The treatment necessary for maximum qe was 3% (w/v) periodate for 24 h and 0.8% (w/v) bromine (as hypobromite) for 24 h; both treatments were at room temperature. These conditions corresponded to the maximum periodate concentration and treatment times tested. To further evaluate the efficacy of modification treatments, weight change after each treatment was determined. Weight loss after the periodate stage for any concentration and time used was minor, indicating the selective nature of this reaction. However, most of the weight loss was incurred after hypobromite treatment. Weight loss corresponding to the greatest increase in sorption capacity was 12.6% total from the combined periodate and hypobromite stages. The increase of carboxylate functional groups in the wood was monitored using FTIR/ATR spectroscopy.