Acetylation of Wood & Cockatoos/Parrots

To: 'Stephen Ambrose' <>, 'Birding Aus' <>
Subject: Acetylation of Wood & Cockatoos/Parrots
From: "Ross Macfarlane (TPG)" <>
Date: Tue, 5 Apr 2016 03:32:51 +0000
I suspect the acetic acid would be in very small quantities that would
either evaporate, be oxidised or be washed away by rain in short order. A
little bit would soak into the wood but would be under the acetylated
coating. So I really doubt the acetic acid (vinegar) would have any lasting

Ross Macfarlane (a chemist in my spare time)

-----Original Message-----
From: Birding-Aus  On Behalf Of
Stephen Ambrose
Sent: Tuesday, 5 April 2016 10:25 AM
To: 'Birding Aus'
Subject: Acetylation of Wood & Cockatoos/Parrots

Hi All,

A client of mine has asked me if the use of acetylated wood on the exterior
of buildings deters cockatoos and parrots from chewing the wood. Acetylation
chemically modifies wood and makes it stronger and more weather-proof. In
the acetylation process, acetic anhydride reacts with the hydroxyl groups on
large molecules such as lignin and hemicellulose in the plant cell wall. The
reaction replaces hydroxyl groups with acetyl groups and yields acetic acid
as a by-product.

I was wondering if the acetic acid produced in the wood as a result of the
acetylation process acts as an irritant or is distasteful to cockatoos or
parrots that might otherwise chew the wood, but I cannot find any
information in the scientific or architectural literature.  Does anyone have
any first-hand experience they would like to share?

Kind regards,

Dr Stephen Ambrose
Principal Ornithologist

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