Boron trifluoride (BF3) is a Lewis acid; it is a very useful reagent for forming esters from acids. Boron trifluoride is commercially available as a 14% solution in methanol for forming esters derivatives. It catalysed reactions carried out in a water bath are very rapid and can be completed in a few minutes. Boron-trifluoride-catalysed transesterification of vegetable oils is one of the most popular methods. For transesterification of vegetable oils, BF3 is used in methanol (15 to 20% w/v).
Boron trifluoride-methanol solution may be used for catalysing a method, used for the synthesis of bishydroperoxides and their derivatives, based on a reaction of ketals with a solution of hydrogen peroxide in anhydrous ether. It may also be used for the rapid preparation of fatty acid esters for gas chromatographic analysis, as it converts fatty acids to their respective methyl esters in about 2 minutes.
Suitable for derivatization of hydroxy fatty acids.
Reagent for methyl ester, O-acetyl.
Reagent for esterifying fatty acid for gas chromatographic analysis
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