I work in a restaurant where we dry age our uncut steaks in a cooler. Dry aging is a wonderfully complex process that improves the flavor of richly marbled steaks. Our particular type of aging cooler has a wall of himalayan pink salt (NaCl with other minierals and enough iron oxide to make a pink hue). Our process is even patented by a famous chef. The patent claims that the salt improves the flavor of the beef, and that the closer the beef is to the salt wall, the more flavorful the beef becomes.
I have a limited understanding of NaCl's basic properties (this is necessary in my line of work). It seems to me that no appreciable amount of salt is making its way to the beef through the air. Air simply circulates around the cooler keeping the beef dry and mitigating microbial grotwh. There is also moisture control that keeps the humidity within a certain range, somewhere in the 60% ball park (relative humidity, i think).
When I assert to some of my co-workers that the salt does nothing besides pull some moisture from the air (via hygroscopy), they contest. They cite the gradually diminishing volume of the salt and the smell of sea air (by the sea, not in the room) to support the claims that the salt is present in the aging room atmosphere.
I would counter that the salt is simply ending up on the floor as it is dissolved by the water it pulls from the air via hygroscopy (The floor is cleaned daily). And on the sea air: I know that near the ocean, salt, along with other minerals and organic material, can become suspended in the air in microscopic water droplets and these droplets can deposit these salt, minerals, etc on surfaces. However, the formation of these "sea salt aerosols" involves the churning of the sea water, formation of bubbles, and the action of wind, two of which are not present in the salt wall.
I guess the best summary of my question would be the following: Can damp salt with an air current flowing around it transfer any amount of salt, via the air, to another surface?