Aspergillus carbonarius is a distinct type of aspergillus mold that thrives in outdoor environments. It has been isolated from mud and wood in soils, mangrove swamps, and polluted water.
Recent studies have shown that Aspergillus carbonarius resembles Aspergillus niger in many features, and the two species were also found to be closely related. A. carbonarius differs from A.niger in its production of larger spores. While past studies noted that this mold is only allergenic in nature, recent tests have described A. carbonarius, along with A. niger, as a main possible source of ochratoxin (OTA) - a possible human carcinogenic toxin - contamination in grapes from Brazil, Argentina, France, Italy, Spain, Greece, Portugal and Australia, and dried fruits from different origins.