[en] A 19 kb SphI DNA fragment containing the gene for the extracellular active-site serine beta-lactamase of Streptomyces cacaoi KCC-SO352 was cloned in Streptomyces lividans TK24 using the high-copy-number plasmid pIJ702 as vector. A 30-fold higher yield of beta-lactamase was obtained from S. lividans strain ML1, carrying the recombinant plasmid pDML51, than from S. cacaoi grown under optimal production conditions. In all respects (molecular mass, isoelectric point, kinetics of inhibition by beta-iodopenicillanate) the overproduced S. lividans ML1 beta-lactamase was identical to the original S. cacaoi enzyme. A considerable reduction of beta-lactamase production was caused by elimination of a 12.8 kb portion of the 19 kb DNA fragment by cleavage at an internal SphI site located more than 3 kb upstream of the beta-lactamase structural gene. The beta-lactamase gene was located within a 1.8 NcoI-BclI fragment but when this fragment was cloned in S. lividans pIJ702, the resulting strain produced hardly any more beta-lactamase than the original S. cacaoi.