AbstractThe aim of this study was to investigate the effects of oxygen and moisture content (MC) on the chemical and color changes of black locust (Robinia pseudoacacia) wood during heat treatment. The wood flour was conditioned to different initial MCs and heated for 24 h at a constant temperature of 120ºC in either oxygen or nitrogen atmosphere. The pH values and chromaticity indexes were examined. Diffuse reflectance UV-Vis (DRUV) and Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectra were used to characterize the changes of chromophores upon heating. The study demonstrated that the pH values decreased after heat treatment, and it was lower when the heat treated was in oxygen than in nitrogen. The L* decreased significantly, while a* and b* increased. The total color difference ΔE* increased with increasing initial MC until a plateau was reached after 30% MC. The color change was greater in oxygen than in nitrogen. The hydroxyl groups decreased after heat treatment. The releases of acid and formation of quinoid compounds and carboxylic groups during heat treatment were confirmed. Discoloration of wood is due mainly to the condensation and oxidation reactions, which are accelerated by oxygen. Higher MCs are required to obtain the greatest color change of wood in inert atmosphere.