We developed fluorescent biosensor systems that are either general or selective to fluoroquinolone antibiotics by using a single-chain variable-fragment (scFv) as a recognition element. The selectivity of these biosensors to fluoroquinolone antibiotics was rationally tuned through the structural modification on the pharmacophore of fluoroquinolone antibiotics and the subsequent selection of scFv receptor modules against these antibiotics-based antigens using phage display. The resulting A2 and F9 scFvs bound to their representative antigen with a moderate affinty (KD in micromolar range as determined by surface plasmon resonance). A2 is a specific binder for enrofloxacin and did not cross-react with other fluoroquinolone antibiotics including structurally similar ciprofloxacin, while F9 is a general fluoroquinolone binder that likely bound to the antigen at the common pyridone-carboxylic acid pharmacophore. These scFv-based receptors were successfully applied to the development of one-step fluorescent biosensor which can detect fluoroquinolone antibiotics at concentrations below the level suggested in animal drug application guidelines. The strategy described in this report can be applied to developing convenient field biosensors that can qualitatively detect overused/misused antibiotics in the livestock drinking water.