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Beta-lactamase

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Beta-lactamase

(Science: enzyme) An enzyme produced by some bacteria, which causes the breakdown of the active form of some penicillin antibiotics, rendering them ineffective. It causes the hydrolysis of a beta-lactam (as penicillin to penicilloic acid); found in most strains of staphylococcus bacteria that are naturally resistant to penicillin.

Synonym: cephalosporinase, penicillinase.