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A salt, in chemistry, is any ionic compound composed of positively charged ions and negatively charged ions so that the product is without a net charge. These component ions can be inorganic (Cl−) as well as organic (CH3COO−) and monoatomic ions(F−) as well as polyatomic ions (SO42−); they are formed when acids and bases react.
There are several varieties of salts: Normal salts are those that do not contain a hydroxide ion (OH−) or a hydrogen ion (H+). Salts that contain a hydroxide ion are basic salts and salts that contain a hydrogen ion are acid salts. Impure salts is a name for salts which have lost their saltiness, and can also refer to natrons. Zwitterions are salts that contain an anionic center and a cationic center in the same molecule; examples include amino acids, many metabolites, peptides and proteins.
When salts are dissolved in water, they are called electrolytes, and are able to conduct electricity, a property that is shared with molten salts. Mixtures of many different ions in solution—like in the cytoplasm of cells, in blood, urine, plant saps and mineral waters— usually do not form defined salts after evaporation of the water. Therefore, their salt content is given for the respective ions.
Salts can be dehydrating to the human body if consumed in excess.