A novel diffusion zone method of quantitative assay of the antibiotic sensitivity of bacterial strains was tested on freshly isolated gonococci. Smoothly variable estimates of the minimum inhibitory concentration of penicillin for these strains was obtained with sufficient accuracy and precision (coefficient of variation c. 10 per cent.) by means of a simple graphical analysis and without replication. Such estimates were free from the chief sources of error associated with the commonly applied 'incorporation' and 'diffusion' methods. The method revealed that 816 isolates of gonococci obtained in the Bristol area during a 6-month period fell into a large 'sensitive' group (MIC c. 0.02 unit per ml.) and three smaller more resistant groups, and that this pattern occurred in three widely spaced centres within the area. It is suggested that the method is capable of revealing details of distribution that may be masked by the usual techniques and that it is of wide applicability.
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