An improved high-performance liquid chromatographic assay is presented for the determination of 7-ethoxycoumarin O-deethylase activity. Following a 30-min microsomal incubation, 7-ethoxycoumarin, 4-methylumbelliferone (internal standard), and the metabolite umbelliferone were extracted with chloroform. Separation was achieved with an isocratic mobile phase using a microBondapak phenyl (300 mm x 3.9 mm I.D.) analytical column. The effluent was monitored by fluorescence detection with an excitation wavelength of 360 nm and an emission wavelength of 470 nm. The intra- and inter-assay coefficients of variation were 10 and 6%, respectively. A detection limit of 0.07 micrograms/ml was achieved, making this method suitable for characterizing P-450 activity of human livers.