ISO 12966-2:2011 specifies methods of preparing the methyl esters of fatty acids.
It includes methods for preparing fatty acid methyl esters from animal and vegetable fats and oils, fatty acids and soaps. To cover different requirements four methylation methods are specified, namely: a) a "rapid" transmethylation procedure under alkaline conditions; b) a "general" transmethylation/methylation procedure under sequential alkaline and acid conditions; c) a BF3 transmethylation procedure; d) an alternative procedure using acid-catalysed transmethylation of glycerides.
Methyl esters so produced are used in various analytical procedures requiring such derivatives, e.g. gas-liquid chromatography (GC), thin-layer chromatography (TLC), and infrared spectrometry (IR).