A simple, non-invasive, non-radioactive liver-function test is proposed. After an oral dose of 3 mg 15N-methacetin per kilogram body mass, the kinetics of 15N excretion via urine were characterized by the quotient of the amounts of 15N excreted in two successive urine samples (Q value). The stable nitrogen isotope 15N was found to be an excellent and easily detectable indicator of the sum of all methacetin metabolites present in urine. Alterations in the nature or ratio of methacetin metabolites due to liver diseases could not be found. From the investigation of 11 men, 3 pregnant women and 15 children, a clear difference was observed in Q values of healthy persons and patients suffering from liver-cell-activity diseases. The discriminating power of our new liver-function test is shown to be equivalent to that of the 14CO2 breath test.