Corn stover was pretreated with various chemical agents, including sodium hydroxide, sulfuric acid, ethylenediamine, n-butylamine (either alone or in solution with methanol), and acetonitrile or ethanol containing hydrochloric acid. Of these chemicals, n-butylamine was the best reagent for pretreatment of corn stover, considering the degree of loss of total carbohydrate, delignification, cumulative weight loss, cumulative yield of reducing sugars per original total carbohydrate, and the potential ease of recovery and reuse of reagent. In comparison to the other reagents tested, n-butylamine (n-BA) selectively delignified corn stover. The best conditions were as follows: a 12-h presoak of about a 155 g dry wt/L slurry (1 mm average particle size) in 100% n-BA at room temperature, followed by 30 min of refluxing (86.5°C) with 40% (w/w) n-BA–distilled water solution. The cumulative yield of reducing sugars after enzymic hydrolysis was 44.5% of the original total carbohydrate and the cumulative total weight loss (dry basis) was 59%. Degradative loss of total carbohydrate during pretreatment was not detected.