Scientific research involving nanotechnology has grown exponentially and has led to the development of engineered nanoparticles (NPs). Silica NPs have been used in numerous scientific and technological applications over the past decade, necessitating the development of efficient methods for their synthesis. Recent studies have explored the potential of laser ablation as a convenient way to prepare metal and oxide NPs. Due to its high silica content, low cost, and widespread availability, sugarbeet bagasse is highly suitable as a raw material for producing silica NPs via laser ablation. In this study, two different NP production methods were investigated: laser ablation and NaOH treatment. We developed a novel, one-step method to produce silica NPs from sugarbeet bagasse using laser ablation, and we characterized the silica NPs using environmental scanning electron microscopy (ESEM), energy dispersive spectrometry (EDS), dynamic light scattering (DIS), transmission electron microscopy (TEM), attenuated total reflectance-Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (ATR-FTIR), X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) and Raman spectroscopy. EDS analysis and XPS confirmed the presence of silica NPs. The NPs produced by laser ablation were smaller (38-190 nm) than those produced by NaOH treatment (531-825 nm). Finally, we demonstrated positive effects of silica NPs produced from laser ablation on the growth of microalgae, and thus, our novel method may be beneficial as an environmentally friendly procedure to produce NPs. (C) 2014 Published by Elsevier B.V.