SUMMARY: The carbonyl--lactam absorption band of penicillins and cephalosporins at 1760 cm. is detectable when the antibiotics are mixed with enzymes or bacterial protein. This band can therefore be used for differentiating the two inactivating enzymes -lactamase and amidase. Examined thus, methicil- lin, cloxacillin, amino-cephalosporanic acid (7-ACA) and thienylacetamido- 7-AC A were stable to staphylococcal -lactamase but less stable to coliform -lactamase. Only quinacillin among a range of therapeutic derivatives tested resisted both types of -lactamase. The other inactivating enzyme, amidase, can exist independently of -lactamase in coliform organisms. When methicillin and cloxacillin were treated with amidase, they lost their stability to -lactamase.


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