AbstractBacterial cellulose was alkylated by alkyl halide in the ionic liquid 1-butyl-3-methylimmidazolium chloride ([Bmim]Cl) with NaH as the alkaline agent. The derivatives were characterized using Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy, nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy, elemental analyses, X-ray diffraction, and thermal gravimetric analyses. The resultant bacterial cellulose alkylated derivatives (BCADs) had a degree of substitution (DS) between 0.21 and 2.01. The effects of the alkylating agent, reactant amount, and temperature on the DS were investigated. BCADs with a butyl substituent had a higher DS than did those with ethyl or propyl groups. The crystallinity and thermal stability of the derivatives decreased after modification owing to the change in morphological structure.