The main objective of this review is to describe the recent developments in solid-phase microextraction technology in food, environmental and bioanalytical chemistry applications. We briefly introduce the historical perspective on the very early work associated with the development of theoretical principles of SPME, but particular emphasis is placed on the more recent developments in the area of automation, high-throughput analysis, SPME method optimization approaches and construction of new SPME devices and their applications. The area of SPME automation for both GC and LC applications is particularly addressed in this review, as the most recent developments in this field have allowed the use of this technology for high-throughput applications. The development of new autosamplers with SPME compatibility and new-generation metal fibre assemblies has enhanced sample throughput for SPME-GC applications, the latter being attributed to the possibility of using the same fibre for several hundred extraction/injection cycles. For LC applications, high-throughput analysis (>1,000 samples per day) can be achieved for the first time with a multi-SPME autosampler which uses multi-well plate technology and allows SPME sample preparation of up to 96 samples in parallel. The development and evolution of new SPME devices such as needle trap, thin-film microextraction and cold-fibre headspace SPME have offered significant improvements in performance characteristics compared with the conventional fibre-SPME arrangement.