There is no reported method for the quantification of methylglyoxal in ruminal fluid. The method reported here is based on the conversion of methylglyoxal to 6-methylpterin, followed by quantification of the resulting pteridinic compound by fluormetric detection using liquid chromatography. Ruminal fluid was collected and preserved with 1 M HCl at -20 degrees C. Cation exchange prior to derivatization was used to eliminate possible interfering peaks. The detection limit of 0.125 microg/mL was calculated. The recoveries were >80%, and the coefficients of variation were <15%. This method has proven to be rugged and accurate for the detection of methylglyoxal concentration in ruminal fluid collected from cows fed diets deficient in degradable intake protein as a marker. Methylglyoxal is produced by ruminal bacteria in response to low nitrogen levels in the rumen. The ruminal methylglyoxal concentration has the potential to be a useful marker to assess ruminal nitrogen status to aid in more accurate diet formulation.