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?

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    $\begingroup$ Why would dry cell weight be different? $\endgroup$ – terdon Oct 29 '13 at 0:50
  • $\begingroup$ dry weight is used in non-biological sense too.. thats the difference $\endgroup$ – WYSIWYG Oct 29 '13 at 4:31
  • $\begingroup$ @terdon so the definition I've written of dry weight is accurate? $\endgroup$ – becko Oct 29 '13 at 14:18
  • $\begingroup$ This looks like an interesting paper on the topic you raise $\endgroup$ – user1136 Oct 29 '13 at 19:15
  • $\begingroup$ biology.stackexchange.com/q/13692/561 $\endgroup$ – becko Nov 27 '13 at 23:06

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.

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

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