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How to kill bacteria with salt

Science 2021

Bacteria is a general term that I refer to a whole kingdom of microscopic species. E is cherished that there are over a trillion species of microbes on earth,

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Bacteria is a general term that refers to an entire kingdom of microscopic species. It is estimated that there are over a trillion types of microbes on earth, the vast majority of which are believed to be bacteria. Most of these types of bacteria are not harmful to humans and do not cause disease. It is believed that only about 1 percent of bacteria cause disease.

Understandably, most people want to avoid getting bacterial infection. Antibiotics and proper hygiene are the most common ways to avoid and kill harmful bacteria. Not many people know that salt also kills bacteria. While not all bacteria can be killed with salt, it can be many that dehydrate the bacterial cells.

Understand osmosis

Before you understand how salt kills bacteria, you need to know what osmosis is. Put simply, osmosis is the movement of water across a membrane from areas of high solute concentration to low solute concentration. This helps maintain a balance of solutes (also known as solute molecules) in the water on both sides of the membrane.

For example, suppose you have cells in a water solution in which the water contained a higher concentration of sugar than the concentration of sugar in the cell. Another possibility is that the concentration of water molecules inside the cell is higher than outside the cell. In this case the water would move from within the cell (where the water concentration is higher) outwards the cell (where the water concentration is lower).

Two things can be achieved with this balance. First, it increases the concentration of water outside the cell and decreases the concentration inside the cell. This movement of the water then in turn decreases the concentration of sugar outside the cell and increases the concentration of sugar inside the cell.

How salt kills bacteria

It is in this process of osmosis that high concentrations of salt kill bacteria. With high salt concentrations outside a bacterial cell, water diffuses from inside the bacteria out of the cell to achieve equilibrium and equalize the salt concentration. When bacterial cells lose all of their water in this way, the following happens:

Put simply, salt sucks all the water out of the bacteria, which leads to cell death. However, some bacteria are resistant to salt. These types of bacteria are called halotolerant.

How to kill bacteria with salt

While the antibacterial properties of salt are helpful for some everyday uses, salt shouldn't be relied on when infected. It's better to use salt as a preventive measure and see a doctor for other treatments if you think you have a bacterial infection.

Examples to try out

Rinse with salt water. Creating a saltwater rinse to gargle in your mouth can help kill harmful bacteria that are causing cavities. The benefits of gargling salt water include killing the bacteria directly through osmosis, as described above, and temporarily increasing the pH in the mouth. This creates an alkaline environment in which most oral bacteria cannot survive.

Just mix 1/2 teaspoon salt in the a cup of warm water. Gargle this solution for 30 seconds before spitting it out. Don't swallow.

Salt and food

Corning and Brining Groceries. Corning, also known as salt hardening, is the term used for rubbing salt pellets onto meat to prevent bacteria from growing. This process requires you to rub salt into meat to maintain the salt concentration 20 percent or more. For example, if you have a 1 pound platter of beef, you need to rub 3 ounces of salt on the surface of the meat.

Brining is similar, except that a salty solution called brine is made instead of rubbing salt directly onto the food. To make a brine, mix salt and water in a ratio of One part salt to five parts water. Then add vegetables and meat to your feed. This prevents bacterial growth and kills most of the bacteria that are already on the feed.

Washing of cutting boards and counters. You can also rub salt directly on bacteria-prone surfaces like cutting boards and counters to kill bacteria on those surfaces and prevent future growth.

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