Changes in carbohydrate components and crystalline structure of hemp bast fibers during organosolv pulping were investigated by X-ray diffractometry, FT-IR spectroscopy and high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC). The reasons for defibrillation and beating problems with organosolv hemp bast fiber pulp were investigated with reference to these properties of pulp samples. Hemp bast fibers and organosolv pulp samples had low hemicellulose contents and high cellulose contents. It was found that the disorder parameter of cellulose in hemp bast fibers was very low, when crystalline cellulose ratio was high and the crystalline structure of cellulose in hemp bast fibers was very stable. These properties affected defibrillation and beating of organosolv hemp bast fibers pulp negatively. (c) 2006 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.