Thirty clinical isolates of Mycobacterium tuberculosis, 20 of which were multidrug-resistant (MDR), were tested for susceptibility to different combinations of amoxycillin, clavulanic acid and subinhibitory concentrations of ethambutol. beta-Lactamase production was assessed semiquantitatively with the nitrocefin method and susceptibility testing was performed with the BACTEC method. All isolates were beta-lactamase positive and were resistant to 16 mg/L amoxycillin. The MIC of amoxycillin in combination with clavulanic acid was > or =2 mg/L for 27/30 (90%) isolates. Addition of subinhibitory concentrations of ethambutol significantly reduced the MIC of amoxycillin for all tested isolates. Twenty-nine (97%) isolates had an MIC of amoxycillin of < or =0.5 mg/L when subinhibitory concentrations of ethambutol were added; this is well below the concentrations achievable in serum and tissue.