Ag/bauxite nanocomposites have been prepared using in situ reduction of aqueous AgNO3 solution in a bauxite matrix and investigated for the transesterification of sunflower oil with methanol in order to study their potential as heterogeneous catalysts. The prepared nanocopmosites were characterized by XRD, SEM, EDX, FT-IR, and TG- DTA. The Central Composite Design of the Response Surface Methodology was used to optimize the effect of reaction temperature, reaction time, catalyst loading and methanol to oil molar ratio on the yield of fatty acid methyl esters. The highest yield was obtained at 67 degrees C reaction temperature, 3 h reaction time, 0.3 wt.% catalyst loading and 9:1 methanol to oil molar ratio. Under the optimal conditions, the methyl ester content was 94% and the catalyst successfully reused for at least 7 cycles without significant deactivation. (C) 2016 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.