Biology Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for biology researchers, academics, and students. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

As I understand it, the dry weight of something is its weight minus the weight of its water content. Is this the definition? What about dry cell weight?

share|improve this question
Why would dry cell weight be different? – terdon Oct 29 '13 at 0:50
dry weight is used in non-biological sense too.. thats the difference – WYSIWYG Oct 29 '13 at 4:31
@terdon so the definition I've written of dry weight is accurate? – becko Oct 29 '13 at 14:18
This looks like an interesting paper on the topic you raise – TomD Oct 29 '13 at 19:15 – becko Nov 27 '13 at 23:06
up vote 4 down vote accepted

According to my Henderson's Dictionary of Biological Terms, dry weight is

The weight or mass of organic matter or soil after removal of water by heating to constant weight.

So yes, your definition is correct and it is also applicable to cells. The dry weight of cells is the weight left when their water content has been removed by heating.

share|improve this answer
+1 thanks. What does "heating to constant weight" mean? – becko Oct 29 '13 at 16:50
@becko heating until further heating does not result in a reduction in weight. Basically, until all the water has evaporated. – terdon Oct 29 '13 at 16:56

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.