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?

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Why would dry cell weight be different? $\endgroup$
    – terdon
    Oct 29, 2013 at 0:50
  • $\begingroup$ dry weight is used in non-biological sense too.. thats the difference $\endgroup$
    Oct 29, 2013 at 4:31
  • $\begingroup$ @terdon so the definition I've written of dry weight is accurate? $\endgroup$
    – a06e
    Oct 29, 2013 at 14:18
  • $\begingroup$ biology.stackexchange.com/q/13692/561 $\endgroup$
    – a06e
    Nov 27, 2013 at 23:06
  • $\begingroup$ some techniques enable to measure the individual cell dry mass using microscopy. The company phasics seem to have developped this tool. $\endgroup$
    – user5076
    Dec 3, 2013 at 11:43

1 Answer 1


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.

  • $\begingroup$ +1 thanks. What does "heating to constant weight" mean? $\endgroup$
    – a06e
    Oct 29, 2013 at 16:50
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @becko heating until further heating does not result in a reduction in weight. Basically, until all the water has evaporated. $\endgroup$
    – terdon
    Oct 29, 2013 at 16:56

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