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beta-lactamase

(bā′tə-lăktə-mās′, -māz′)
n.
  1. Any of various enzymes that are produced by gram-negative bacteria and hydrolyze lactam rings, thereby inactivating penicillin and cephalosporin antibiotics. cephalosporinase penicillinase
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The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.