I know this may look like some question easily answered with common sense, but please read.

If water is the solvent wouldn't the only thing that moves be water? (Osmosis)

Edit: this is basically what I think. If you imagine the skin of whatever you are pickling as a membrane that prohibit the flow of electrolytes but allows that if water. Then salt, NaCl, cannot move anywhere.


1 Answer 1


Your concept of a cell is a little vague. Although the cell wall is made from a diglyceride bilayer, it is not impregnable. In fact, there are many proteins that pass through the cell wall where dissolved material can pass. One of the proteins is called the sodium potassium pump. In a living cell, the protein uses ATP to move sodium out of the cell and drag potassium into the cell. Both of these ions are against the gradient. In a non-living cell, such as the pickle, sodium ions can move across the cell membrane and make the cells salty.

  • $\begingroup$ So even after being cut off, the cucumber, say for ex, will not absorb any sodium unless it's cell is completely dead? $\endgroup$ Commented May 3, 2015 at 2:58
  • $\begingroup$ Also, does Cl also come in like this and get recombined with sodium? $\endgroup$ Commented May 3, 2015 at 2:58
  • $\begingroup$ Sodium leaks in even if the cell is alive. There is nothing preventing chloride ions from passing through the cell membrane. $\endgroup$
    – LDC3
    Commented May 3, 2015 at 3:01

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