The water content of human nail plates was determined using a portable near-infrared (NIR) spectrometer with an InGaAs photo-diode array detector. NIR diffuse reflectance (DR) spectra were collected from 108 cut nail plates with different relative humidity and <i>in vivo</i> from fingernails. Partial least-squares (PLS) regression was applied to the NIR spectra in the 1115-1645 nm region to develop calibration models that determine the water content in the cut nail plates and fingernails. A good correlation was obtained between the NIR spectra and the water content measured by nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) for the NIR measurement of both cut nail plates and fingernails. The results indicate that the water content in the nails can be determined very rapidly (1 s) by means of the portable NIR spectrometer and PLS regression.

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