NaCl and Microorganisms
Name: Yona K.
How and why exactly does sodium chloride affects microorganisms?
or bacteria? In another word, how does preservative(salt) works?
Life depends on water. Every living cell is a little salt-water bag. But
that concentration of salt has to be carefully controlled. It a very
high-salt environment, the process of diffusion sucks the water out of the
cell (as the water is trying to dilute the outside environment). This
increases the cell's internal salt-concentration until the cell can no longer
function and dies. If you are preserving food, those cells are already
So adding salt kills the only remaining living things -- microorganisms -- so
they do not cause the food to spoil.
Christine Ticknor, Ph.D.
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Update: June 2012