Clavulanic Acid molecule in 3-D

The Clavulanic Acid molecule - rotatable in 3 dimensions

Clavulanic acid was found as a metabolic product of Streptomyces clavuligerus.

This small molecule has a lactam ring like all antibiotics of the beta-lactam group (penicillins (penams), cephalosporins (cephems), monobactams, carbapenems), but it does not have any antibiotic power itself.

It is useful in that it is a competitive inhibitor of bacterial β-lactamase; it joins onto the active site of this enzyme, used by resistant bacteria to break down and deactivate many antibiotics of that group, and deactivates the bacterial enzyme. As a result, it can be used in conjunction with antibiotics that would otherwise be ineffective.

Examples of this include Co-amoxiclav (Augmentin), in which clavulanic acid is combined with amoxicillin.

This so-called broad-spectrum or combination antibiotic may be used against a variety of bacteria, possibly including Klebsiella .

... Lactam ....

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