Sterling Heights Firm Sets Sights on Mission to Mars


Sterling Heights-based Microcide, which recently participated in a trade mission to Panama and Costa Rica, may soon be on another, more extensive mission — sending its highly effective disinfecting wipes into outer space.

According to John Lopes, the company’s president, NASA intends to use Microcide’s technology in a future manned mission to Mars — which he says is, at the very least, five years down the road. Microcide’s sanitizing Pro-san wipes have been cleared by toxicology scientists as well as the microbial safety group at the governmental agency and will be used to disinfect produce grown via tabletop greenhouses on board the shuttle.

“We’ve been working with NASA for a number of years,” Lopes says. “We want to introduce (our products) for the safety of the astronauts because they should not get sick during the duration of the six-month trip. They do not have doctors (on the shuttle), so we want to help prevent infections.”

Lopes says the wipes are currently being tested by another group involved in the greenhouse project at the John F. Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

First incorporated in 1990, Microcide’s popularity has gained momentum in the last five years, Lopes says. “People are more concerned with health now than before. They’re finding that soaps (with Triclosan) are not good for the health and (may contribute to making bacteria) resistant to drugs.”

Microcide’s products — which include fruit and vegetable washes, mouthwashes, and hand soaps — don’t include Triclosan, but are still effective in killing bacteria, Lopes says.

He sees an important market in the food industry, where it’s not uncommon for perishable food to travel from California to be sold in New York. “(Much) of that food is destroyed along the way. Our products can help from every point from farm to the table. We can also help in hospitals, nursing homes, and baby care. It’s a diverse world of products.”

The products are currently available online, and Lopes says that he is in talks with food processors and retailers in Central America thanks to last month’s U.S. Department of Agriculture-arranged U.S. Export Association-oriented trade mission to Panama and Costa Rica.

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