Strategies employing non-gel based methods for quantitative proteomic profiling such as isotope coded affinity tags coupled with mass spectrometry (ICAT-MS) are gaining attention as alternatives to two-dimensional gel electrophoresis (2-DE). We have conducted a large-scale investigation to determine the degree of reproducibility and depth of proteome coverage of a typical ICAT-MS experiment by measuring protein changes in Escherichia coli treated with triclosan, an inhibitor of fatty acid biosynthesis. The entire ICAT-MS experiment was conducted on four independent occasions where more than 24 000 peptides were quantitated using an ion-trap mass spectrometer. Our results demonstrated that quantitatively, the technique provided good reproducibility (median coefficient of variation of ratios was 18.6%), and on average identified more than 450 unique proteins per experiment. However, the method was strongly biased to detect acidic proteins (pI < 7), under-represented small proteins (<10 kDa) and failed to show clear superiority over 2-DE methods in monitoring hydrophobic proteins from cell lysates.