It is well established that accumulation of methylmalonic acid may provide an early clue to the existence of tissue cobalamin (vitamin B12) deficiency. To verify whether methylmalonic acid accumulates in adult heterozygotes for inherited methylmalonic-acidaemia and thereby gives "false" positive test results for cobalamin deficiency, we measured the concentration of methylmalonic acid in serum and its urinary excretion in six patients of three children with severe methylmalonic-acidaemia. We found levels of methylmalonic acid similar to those in normal subjects. In serum, the concentrations of methylmalonic acid ranged from 0.12 to 0.39 mumol/l (reference range: 0.05-0.44 mumol/l). In urine, the values ranged from 1.18 to 2.48 mmol per mol of creatinine (reference range: 0.58-3.56). We conclude that the 2% of carriers of inherited methylmalonic-acidaemia in the general population do not invalidate the usefulness of measurement of methylmalonic acid in serum or urine for the clinical evaluation of cobalamin deficiency.