The structure(s), distribution and dynamics of CDOM have been investigated over the last several decades largely through optical spectroscopy (including both absorption and fluorescence) due to the fairly inexpensive instrumentation and the easy-to-gather data (over thousands published papers from 1990-2016). Yet, the chemical structure(s) of the light absorbing and emitting species or constituents within CDOM has only recently being proposed and tested through chemical manipulation of selected functional groups (such as carbonyl and carboxylic/phenolic containing molecules) naturally occurring within the organic matter pool. Similarly, fitting models (among which the PArallel FACtor analysis, PARAFAC) have been developed to better understand the nature of a subset of DOM, the CDOM fluorescent matter (FDOM). Fluorescence spectroscopy coupled with chemical tests and PARAFAC analyses could potentially provide valuable insights on CDOM sources and chemical nature of the FDOM pool. However, despite that applications (and publications) of PARAFAC model to FDOM have grown exponentially since its first application/publication (2003), a large fraction of such publications has misinterpreted the chemical meaning of the delivered PARAFAC ‘components’ leading to more confusion than clarification on the nature, distribution and dynamics of the FDOM pool. In this context, we employed chemical manipulation of selected functional groups to gain further insights on the chemical structure of the FDOM and we tested to what extent the PARAFAC ‘components’ represent true fluorophores through a controlled chemical approach with the ultimate goal to provide insights on the chemical nature of such ‘components’ (as well as on the chemical nature of the FDOM) along with the advantages and limitations of the PARAFAC application.