Salmonella ordonez strain BM2000 carries kanamycin (Km), ampicillin (Ap), spectinomycin (Sp), chloramphenicol (Cm), tetracycline (Tc), and sulfonamide (Su) resistance and production of colicin Ib (Cib). The Km and Cib characters were carried by a 97 kb IncI1 plasmid (pIP565). In addition to the Km and Cib traits, all or part of the other antibiotic resistance (R) determinants could be transferred by conjugation from S. ordonez to Escherichia coli where all the acquired characters are borne by an IncI1 plasmid, designated complete or partial composite plasmid respectively. DNA from pIP565 and composite plasmids and total DNA from strain BM2000 were studied by agarose and polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis following digestion with restriction endonucleases, and by Southern hybridization. These comparative analyses enabled us a) to show that acquisition by pIP565 of resistance to all or some of the antibiotics was due to the insertion of a single DNA fragment into the receptor plasmid; b) to detect two types of composite plasmids with regard to the specificity of insertion into pIP565 and the mapping of the inserts; c) to demonstrate that the ApCmSpSuTc resistance determinants were integrated into S. ordonez BM2000 chromosomal DNA; d) to map the restriction fragments of the translocatable sequence integrated into strain BM2000 chromosome or into pIP565. The results obtained suggest that two distinct mechanisms for the translocation of the R determinants coexist in S. ordonez BM2000. Recombination between two of the four directly repeated copies of the IS-like sequence (IS1522) present in S. ordonez chromosome leads to the circularisation of all or part of the ApCmSpSuTc R determinants and is followed by either 1) a second recombination with the copy of IS1522 in pIP565 (Type I composite plasmids), or 2) transposition of precise groups of characters in various sites of pIP565 (Type II composite plasmids).