Electron capture dissociation (ECD) is a new fragmentation technique used in Fourier transform ion cyclotron resonance mass spectrometry and is complementary to traditional tandem mass spectrometry techniques. Disulfide bonds, normally stable to vibrational excitation, are preferentially cleaved in ECD. Fragmentation is fast and specific and labile post-translational modifications and non-covalent bonds often remain intact after backbone bond dissociation. ECD provides more extensive sequence coverage in polypeptides, and at higher electron energies even isoleucine and leucine are distinguishable. In biotechnology, the main area of ECD application is expected to be the top-down verification of DNA-predicted protein sequences, de novo sequencing, disulfide bond analysis and the combined top-down/bottom-up analysis of post-translational modifications.