Given its high sensitivity and non-destructive nature, fluorescence excitation-emission matrix (EEM) spectroscopy is widely used to differentiate changes and transformations of dissolved or water-extracted organic matter (OM) in natural environments. The same technique applied directly on solid samples (solid-phase fluorescence spectroscopy, SPF-EEM) provides accurate results when used with pharmaceutical products or food samples, but only a few studies have considered natural OM. This study reports on the use of SPF-EEM on solid compost samples and emphasises the way the different maturation phases can be distinguished with fluorophores closely resembling those found in dissolved samples. A very good correlation has been found with data from Rock-Eval pyrolysis, nuclear magnetic resonance (C-13 CPIVIAS NMR), and humic-fulvic acid ratios determined by conventional NaOH-extraction. SPF-EEM appears as a much simpler method than the conventional ones to detect transformations in natural OM samples with low mineral contents. However, direct application to soil samples requires some additional studies. (C) 2014 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.