A unique instrumentation for the absorption and scattering spectroscopy of highly scattering media in the range from 560 up to 1050 nm has been developed based on the study of photon migration in the time-domain. The performances of the system made it possible to get the first spectral characterization of different biological tissues on a wide spectral range, with relevant impact for applications. In particular, we obtained the spectral characterization in vivo of photosensitizer drugs used in photodynamic therapy. We derived the in vivo absorption and scattering spectra of the female breast from 600 up to 1000 nm, as well as a broad in vivo characterization of the optical properties of the head, the muscle, the adipose tissues. From the first in vivo spectra of the human calcaneous we foresee the possibility to use this optical technique for the diagnosis of osteoporosis. Moreover we obtained the first spectral measurements of the pulp in intact fruits, opening a new applicative field concerning the non-destructive assessment of the internal quality of agricultural produce by time-resolved reflectance.