What gives it that salty taste? I'm wondering if it's the $\ce{Na+}$ or the $\ce{Cl-}$. I know that $\ce{KCl}$ also tastes salty, and other salts have different flavours, but where does the saltiness in $\ce{NaCl}$ come from? I mean, it makes sense that it's the $\ce{Cl-}$ ion, but it could also be that $\ce{K+}$ and $\ce{Na+}$ have similar flavours.

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    $\begingroup$ Mostly Cl-. Taste some baking soda, it is not quite salty. $\endgroup$ Nov 2 '16 at 9:24

The salt receptors are sodium ionic channels, i.e. peptides which are selectively permeable for Na ions [1]. Ionic current causes receptor activation and neural responce.

Anion plays minor role here, imposing upon salty taste. The result may appear acidic, bitter and even sweet. For example, I believe that sulphates are overally bitter. Carbonates or alkali probably just burn the receptors and may have random taste.


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