Hydrothermal treatment method was proposed to prepare pure LiAlO2 with fibrous crystal morphology and the effect of precursors on the morphology of lithium aluminate was investigated. Lithium butoxide-aluminum butoxide system gave mostly rod-like beta-LiAlO2 crystal. As the length of alkoxy group decreases, the fraction of plate shape crystals was increased and boehmite was dominant crystal phase. Needle-shape beta-LiAlO2 was produced from lithium nitrate-aluminum butoxide-sodium hydroxide system with the mole ratio of 6 : 1 : 3, respectively. beta-LiAlO2 prepared by hydrothermal treatment was transformed to gamma-LiAlO2 at 750-850 degrees C. The specific surface area of gamma-LiAlO2 powders was above 10 m(2)/g. (C) 2000 Kluwer Academic Publishers.