I had assumed that the preservative function of covering foods with NaCl or brine was due to osmosis killing the microorganisms on the food by dehydration. However, I am now wondering to what extent denaturing of bacterial protein through interaction with salt ions could be responsible for killing the microorganisms. And what evidence suggests a dominant role for one or the other mechanism. I hope someone can clarify this matter for me. Thanks in advance.
In addition to killing microorganisms, the salt may provide a better environment for some 'beneficial' organisms, and a less beneficial environment for other 'problem' organisms. For instance, in production of kimchi and sauerkraut, salt encourages lactofermentation to the detriment of more harmful bacteria and fungi.