It serves two functions: 1) hydration aid to help the moisture go into the grain-based material faster and more evenly (multi-grain products), almost like a pre-conditioner in a bag; and 2) functions like a mono- or diglyceride that allows the oils in the grain to work with the water that is added to improve extrusion performance. It also lowers the bulk density and reduces breakage.
A hydration aid, in expanded products provides uniform hydration = uniform cooking and unform expansion. Nu-RICE is superior to monos in this area. See case study on Nu-RICE in corn curls from Texas A&M University.
The study documents uniform cell structure, lower bulk density, reduction in breakage, smoother surface and faster output. Corn from the southern hemisphere is typically a flint-style corn versus a dent-style corn in the northern hemisphere. Nu-RICE will significantly improve flint-corn products by eliminating the hard spots that are un-cooked. Additionally, the Nu-RICE will give a more uniform cell structure, which results in a softer bite and less tooth packing.