The syntheses of thermally stable chromium-incorporating hexagonal mesoporous aluminophosphate and cubic Cr-MCM-48 have been reported. Characterization of the catalysts was made using low angle XRD, N2 adsorption, UV-VISDRS, thermal analysis, ICP-AES and ESR. Mesoporous Cr-AlPO4 and Cr-MCM-48 catalysts have been found to be active for the vapour phase oxidation of toluene with molecular oxygen. Mesoporous Cr-AlPO4 is found to exhibit both acidic and redox properties and hence oxidation as well as dealkylation reactions are taking place in a concerted manner, whereas, the cubic silicate analogue acts as a pure redox catalyst. © 2002 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.