2,2'-(1,4-Phenylenedivinylene)bis-8-hydroxyquinoline (PBHQ), a highly sensitive reagent used for the colorimetric determination of p-aminophenol (PAP), was successfully immobilised on XAD-7 and coupled with optical fibres to investigate a sensor-based approach for determining p-aminophenol. The solid-state sensor is based on the reaction of PAP with PBHQ in presence of an oxidant to produce an indophenol dye. The reflectance measurements were carried out at a wavelength of 647 nm since it yielded the largest divergence different in reflectance spectra before and after reaction with the analyte. The linear dynamic range of PAP was found within the concentration range of 0.1-2.18 mg l(-1) with its LOD of 0.02mg l(-1). The sensor response from different probes (n=7) gave a R.S.D. of 4.4% at 1.09 mg l(-1) PAP concentration. The response time of the optical one-shot: sensor was 5 min for a stable solution. As this PAP sensor is irreversible, a fresh sensor has to be used for each measurement. All the experimental parameters were optimized for the determination of PAP. Using the optical sensing probe. PAP in pharmaceutical wastewater and paracetamol was determined. The effect of potential interferences such as inorganic and organic compounds was also evaluated. Potential on-site determination of PAP with such sensors can indirectly aid detection of organo-phosphorus nerve agents and pesticides in the field by inhibition of acetylcholine esterase-catalyzed hydrolysis of p-aminophenyl acetate to p-aminophenol. (C) 2008 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.