Skeletal muscle bioenergetics and control of intracellular pH have been investigated in 46 patients with chronic fatigue syndrome by phosphorus magnetic resonance spectroscopy. The results have been compared with those from healthy controls and from a group of patients with mitochondrial cytopathies affecting skeletal muscle. No consistent abnormalities of glycolysis, mitochondrial metabolism or pH regulation were identified in the group when taken as a whole, although in 12 of the 46 patients the relationship between pH and phosphocreatine utilisation during exercise fell outside the normal range. Of these, 6 patients showed increased acidification relative to phosphocreatine depletion while 6 showed reduced acidification. These findings do not support the hypothesis that any specific metabolic abnormality underlies fatigue in this syndrome although abnormalities may be present in a minority of patients.