Over the last few years, differential phase-contrast x-ray computed tomography (PC-CT) using a hard x-ray grating interferometer and polychromatic x-ray tube sources has been developed. The method allows for simultaneous determination of the attenuation coefficient and the refractive index decrement distribution inside an object in three dimensions. Here we report experimental results of our investigation on the quantitativeness and accuracy of this method. For this study, a phantom consisting of several tubes filled with chemically well-defined liquids was built and measured in PC-CT. We find, that the measured attenuation coefficients and refractive index decrements closely match calculated, theoretical values. Moreover, the study demonstrates, how substances with similar attenuation coefficient or refractive index decrement, can be uniquely distinguished by the simultaneous, quantitative measurement of both quantities. (C) 2009 Optical Society of America