Microbial community of an organism plays an important role on its fitness, including stress responses. In this study, we investigated the effect of the culturable subset of soil microbial community (SMB) on the stress response of the soil nematode Caenorhabditis elegans, upon exposure to one of the major soil contaminants, cadmium (Cd). Life history traits and the stress responses to Cd exposure were compared between SMB- and Escherichia coli strain OP50-fed worms. SMB-fed worms showed higher reproduction rates and longer lifespans. Also, the SMB-fed worms showed more tolerant response to Cd exposure. Gene expression profiling suggested that the chemical stress and immune response of worms were boosted upon SMB feeding. Finally, we investigated C. elegans gut microbial communities in the presence and absence of Cd in OP50- and SMB-fed C. elegans. In the OP50-fed worms, changes in microbial community by Cd exposure was severe, whereas in the SMB-fed worms, it was comparatively weak. Our results suggest that the SMB affects the response of C. elegans to Cd exposure and highlight the importance of the gut microbiome in host stress response. Copyright © 2019. Published by Elsevier Inc.