SUMMARY. One hundred and thirty-nine bacteraemia strains of , representing different combinations of phage type and susceptibility to antibiotics and to cadmium (Cd), arsenate (As) and mercury (Hg), were investigated for penicillinase production. The determination of enzyme activity in induced and uninduced conditions was performed by iodometric titration. The amount of penicillinase produced could be correlated with phage pattern. Epidemically occurring strains of the 94,96 and the 83A complexes produced the largest amount of penicillinase, whereas strains of the 52, 52A, 80, 81 complex were weaker producers. Group-II and group-Ill strains produced the smallest amount.

Susceptibility to antibiotics and to Cd, As and Hg could not be correlated with enzyme activity, but strains resistant to penicillin plus tetracyclines and strains resistant only to Cd did produce less enzyme than strains with other resistance patterns. The percentage mean values of extracellularity of the enzyme was highest amongst strains of the 94,96 complex and of type 95. Four strains had constitutive production, one being macro-constitutive and three micro-constitutive. All four strains represented rare combinations of the above properties but were susceptible to fusidic acid. The importance of penicillinase production by epidemically occurring strains is discussed.


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