Microsatellite markers and the results of amplified fragment length polymorphism (AFLP) were compared in the characterization of 68 Aspergillus carbonarius and A. niger aggregate strains of differing ochratoxin-producing ability and from different geographic areas, isolated mainly from grapes and soil. AFLP was applied to both A. carbonarius and A. niger aggregate strains, and it clearly differentiated these species. Microsatellite markers were only applied to A. niger aggregate strains because of the species-specific nature of these markers. Both AFLP and microsatellite marker analyses were able to divide A. niger aggregate strains into the two recognized internal transcribed spacer (ITS)-5.8S rDNA RFLP types, N and T. Clustering of A. niger aggregate strains was similar in both AFLP and microsatellite analyses, yielding an additional separation of N type strains into two groups. Both microsatellite marker and AFLP analyses showed high levels of polymorphism in the A. niger aggregate (index of discriminatory power 0.991 and 1.0, respectively). Of the two techniques, microsatellite marker analysis was quicker and more straightforward to perform. In addition, microsatellite marker analysis is more reproducible, and the results can be expressed as quantitative data, making microsatellite markers a good candidate for use in large-scale studies of genetic diversity in A. niger aggregate species. © 2008 Springer Science+Business Media, LLC.