Susceptibilities to β-lactam antibiotics and β-lactamase content of two groups of strains were compared. Type cultures produced low levels of β-lactamase and were susceptible to cefoxitin, latamoxef, imipenem and the combination of benzylpenicillin and clavulanic acid. Other strains that produced higher levels of β-lactamase were generally less susceptible to these antibiotics; this resistance was more closely related to enzyme type than to the amount of enzyme present.

The β-lactamases produced by the test strains fell into three broad groups on the basis of antibiotic degradation and inhibitor profiles: (i) those that inactivated benzylpenicillin, but not cefoxitin, latamoxef or imipenem, and were susceptible to inhibition by β-lactamase inhibitors; (ii) those that hydrolysed benzylpenicillin, cefoxitin and latamoxef, but not imipenem, and which were less susceptible to inhibition by β-lactamase inhibitors; (iii) an enzyme that inactivated all the antibiotics and was not inhibited by β-lactamase inhibitors.


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