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Pronunciation: lak'ta-mas

Definition: An enzyme produced by many species of bacteria that disrupts the four-membered ß-lactam ring of penicillin and cephalosporin groups of antibiotics, destroying their antimicrobial activity. The ability of an organism to produce a ß-lactamase may be chromosomal and constitutive or a plasmid-associated acquired property.

Synonym(s): cephalosporinase, lactamase, penicillinase1

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© Copyright 2018 Wolters Kluwer. All Rights Reserved. Review Date: Sep 19, 2016.