AbstractWith thermal modification, changes in properties of wood, such as the presence of VOC and water-soluble carbohydrates, may occur. Thermal modifications under saturated steam conditions (160 °C or 170 °C) and superheated steam conditions (170, 185, and 212 °C) were investigated by analysing the presence of water-soluble 5-(hydroxymethyl)furfural (HMF), furfural, and carbohydrates in heat-treated wood. The influence of thermal modifications on Scots pine, Norway spruce, and silver birch was also studied. Furfurals were analysed using HPLC at 280 nm, while monosaccharides and water-soluble carbohydrates were determined by GC-FID as their acetylated alditiols and, after methanolysis, as their trimethylsilylated methyl-glycosides, respectively. The amount of furfurals was larger in boards thermally modified under saturated steam conditions than those treated under superheated steam conditions. Generally, more of HMF than furfural was found in the thermally modified boards. In process water, in which saturated steam conditions had been used, furfural and only traces of HMF were found. Higher content of water-soluble carbohydrates was found in boards treated in saturated steam rather than in superheated steam. After modification in saturated steam, substantial parts of the water-soluble carbohydrates were due to monosaccharides, but only traces of monosaccharides were found in boards treated under superheated steam conditions.