N-Terminal isotope tagging (NIT) is an important proteomic tool for quantifying proteins in complex mixtures. Here we describe a modified version of the isotope-coded propionylation procedure of Zhang et al. [Zhang et al., Rapid Commun. Mass Spectom. 16 (2002) 2325], which uses 'light' D0 and 'heavy' D10-propionic anhydride. The method has been extensively modified to improve both the kinetics and overall yield of propionylation. Using albumin as a model protein, the overall variation in quantification yields, calculated using several tryptic peptides, was within +/-10% (S.D. +/-0.2) error. The efficacy of the method is demonstrated by the quantitative differences obtained for vimentin in cell lysates of C2C12 myoblasts upon their myogensis to myotubules.