Several penicillins known to be stable to enterobacterial beta-lactamases were tested in combination with beta-lactamase-sensitive penicillins and cephalosporins in a turbidimetric system. Nafcillin was found to be the best beta-lactamase inhibitor amongst agents presently available commercially, but the related, new semi-synthetic penicillin BRL 1437 (2-isopropoxy-1-naphthylpenicillin) was consistently found to be superior. Using 103 ampicillin-resistant coliform bacilli and antibiotic levels achievable in urine, cephalothin or cephaloridine alone achieved long-term suppression of growth (greater than 20 h) of 16 and 13% of strains, respectively, while the additional presence of BRL 1437 suppressed growth for longer than 20 h of 81% of the remaining strains. Even where 'success' was not achieved according to these stringent criteria, regrowth was significantly delayed by the presence of BRL 1437. Suppression of growth for longer than 20 h by BRL 1437 plus cephalothin was achieved with all of the 46 Escherichia coli strains tested. Antibiotic combinations were also studied in an in vitro model which stimulates the hydrokinetic features of the urinary bladder. Suppression of the growth of two highly resistant E. coli strains was achieved in this system, for therapeutically acceptable periods of time, with combinations of cephalothin or cephaloridine with BRL 1437, but not nafcillin.